Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
There are more than 850,000 veterans waiting for the Department of Veterans Affairs to process their disability claims. With the average wait time at 330 days, and some veterans waiting well over a year for service according to USA Today, Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) have introduced legislation to reduce the backlog.
The bill, named the Veterans Benefits Claims Faster Filing Act, would require the VA to post the average turnaround time for filing claims and enable veterans to file their claim online. As Senator Heinrich said, “We have an obligation to keep America’s promise to our veterans by providing them, without delay, the best care and benefits our country has to offer.”
Senator Heller explained that the legislation is both necessary and effective:
While there is no single bill that will magically reduce the backlog, it is legislation like this that takes another positive step forward. Providing accurate information to veterans at the point they submit a claim will save time for both the veteran and the Veterans Administration, and ultimately help the VA adjudicate the claim efficiently.
At present, 82% of VA disability claims are filed on paper, significantly increasing wait times.