Rep. Kirkpatrick’s VA backlog legislation passes House - The Explorer: News

Rep. Kirkpatrick’s VA backlog legislation passes House

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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 10:31 am | Updated: 3:56 pm, Wed Jul 10, 2013.

VA CORE, the bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., to help tackle the substantial claims backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs, today passed the House of Representatives as an amendment to HR 1960, the Department of Defense reauthorization bill. The passage is Kirkpatrick’s first legislative victory for veterans during the 113th Congress, building on her veterans-related accomplishments from the 111th Congress. She is Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

“From the moment I took office, I began hearing from men and women struggling with the VA backlog, and I promised to fight for them,” Kirkpatrick said. “Today’s vote is a victory for veterans across District One, from Casa Grande to the White Mountains, and from Oro Valley to Flagstaff and the Navajo Nation. And it’s a victory for veterans everywhere who have sacrificed so much for our country. This is an important step toward eliminating the claims backlog so veterans can receive the care and resources they deserve.” (audio file attached)

VA CORE is the first successfully passed legislation out of a 10-bill package introduced this spring by members of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee to help the Department of Veterans’ Affairs accomplish its goal to eliminate the backlog by 2015.

The VA Claims, Operations and Records Efficiency amendment directs the Department of Defense to provide the complete service treatment records of veterans to the Department of Veterans Affairs in an efficient, electronic format. Currently, the average veteran waits more than 250 days for a decision on a claim. About 175 days of that time is the VA waiting for the DOD to send the complete records, which DOD currently processes on paper rather than electronically.

The VA CORE amendment will:

Codify a plan both agencies agreed upon in February, in which Defense begins the immediate transfer of complete and certified service treatment records to VA, and electronic capabilities are in place by the end of 2013.

Require the Department of Defense to provide certified, complete and electronic records to the Department of Veterans Affairs within 90 days of military discharge or release.

Backlog facts:

The claims backlog is a growing and serious problem. As of March 30, 2013, VA had 885,068 claims pending. Of those, 613,876 claims were pending more than 125 days, at which point they are considered to be backlogged.

Veterans are filing disability compensation claims at historically high levels. VA now receives well over a million claims every year, and the numbers continue to grow.

The current paper-based claims system was established following World War I. Since then, statute changes made the process more complex, but no administration invested in updating the system. It was not until 2009 that our nation finally invested heavily in modernizing the claims processing system.

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1 comment:

  • JimS posted at 1:17 pm on Sun, Jun 16, 2013.

    JimS Posts: 2

    You can pass all the bills needed, they don't pay for the ignored and not wanting to sacrifice by the people served!!
    How does a Country HONOR It's Fallen, by Their Own 'Sacrifice' in Taking Care of the Brothers and Sisters They Served With!!
    The Whole Country Served, Not Just The Many Caring Groups, with handfuls of members and volunteers, who have to fight for funding when successful and not getting grants, Within!!

    "If military action is worth our troops’ blood, it should be worth our treasure, too — not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

    Rachel Maddow: 'Obama indicates beginning of end of war on terror', "We got a huge round of tax cuts in this country a few weeks before9/11. Once 9/11 happened and we invaded Afghanistan, we kept the tax cuts anyway.
    How did we think we were going to pay for that war? Did we think it was free?
    Then, when we started a second simultaneous war in another country, we gave ourselves a second huge round of tax cuts. After that second war started. The wars, I guess, we thought would be free, don`t worry about it, civilians. Go about your business." 23 May 2013

    “Why in 2009 were we still using paper?” VA Assistant Secretary Tommy Sowers “When we came in, there was no plan to change that; we’ve been operating on a six month wait for over a decade.” 27 March 2013

    WHY? GOOD QUESTION THOSE SERVED SHOULD ANSWER!

    Prior too this present Executive and Veterans Administrations and just touching on the problems:

    Army Times Oct. 16, 2008 - VA claims found in piles to be shredded

    CNN iReport October 25, 2008 - House Vets' Committee To Probe VA Shredder Scandal

    Tampa Bay Times Oct 27, 2008 - Hundreds of VA documents improperly shredded, review finds {Tampa Bay Times search page and series of articles}

    CBS News February 11, 2009 - Veterans' Claims Found in Shredder Bins

    And more disturbing in relation to even before and through the early years of the Afghanistan, quickly abandoned missions of, and Iraq occupations, this:

    ProPublica and The Seattle Times Nov. 9, 2012 - Lost to History: Missing War Records Complicate Benefit Claims by Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans
    "DeLara's case is part of a much larger problem that has plagued the U.S. military since the 1990 Gulf War: a failure to create and maintain the types of field records that have documented American conflicts since the Revolutionary War."

    Add in the issues of finally recognizing in War Theater and more Veterans, by this Veterans Administration and the Executive Administrations Cabinet, what the Country choose to ignore from our previous decades and wars of: The devastating effects on Test Vets and from PTS, Agent Orange, Homelessness, more recent the Desert Storm troops Gulf War Illnesses, Gulf War Exposures with the very recent affects from In-Theater Burn Pits and oh so so much more! Tens of Thousands of Veterans' that have been long ignored and maligned by previous VA's and the whole Country and through their representatives!

    These present wars have yet to be paid for! Rubber stamping and rapid deficits rising started before 9/11 and continued with same for the wars. But especially in the early some six years of extremely little being added to the Veterans Administration budgets by those Congresses, and since obstructed by same war rubber stampers, as to the long term results of War, DeJa-Vu all over again.

    "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." - Abraham Lincoln

    USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71

     

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