05.21.13

House Appropriations Committee Passes Bill Requiring Monthly Reports on VA Backlog

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
May 21, 2013
Contact: Carrie Adams (202) 225-2661

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Appropriations Committee passed the FY2014 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill.  This legislation includes language requested by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), which would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide more detailed reports on the backlog and the efforts of local regional offices to eliminate it.

“I am pleased that the Appropriations Committee has included language aimed at addressing the claims backlog in VA  regional offices by requiring more detailed reporting,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “By having more specific data on the problem, the Appropriations Committee will be in a better position to hold the VA accountable and ensure that our veterans are receiving the best service possible.”

“As the daughter of a veteran, it is shameful that the young men and women who served our country must wait an average of 292* days while the VA processes their claim. This wait is inexcusable and unacceptable,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “Our veterans are heroes, and they deserve timely and accurate responses from the VA.  I will continue to fight to eliminate this unconscionable backlog.”

Specifically, the bill would require the VA to provide a monthly report for each regional office and the nation as a whole that identifies the following:

1) The average number of days disability compensation claims are pending;

2)  The share of the rating inventory that has been pending more than 125 days;

3)  The rating claims accuracy on a three-month average; and

4)  The month-to-month change in these indices, both by numeric value and percentage

In addition, for each regional office with an average number of days pending for disability claims in excess of 200 days, the Department would be required to report to the Committee on a quarterly basis the actions taken within the last quarter to reduce the backlog, such as increases in claims processor FTE, staffing transfers, additional training and technology adaptations.

*According to the VA report released yesterday, the Average Days to Complete FYTD for the Oakland RO is 541.6

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Follow Barbara Lee on Facebook and Twitter at @RepBarbaraLee. To learn more, visit lee.house.gov.

 

Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the newly formed Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.