McCarthy Legislation to Reduce the VA Benefits Claims Backlog Approved by House
Washington D.C. – The House of Representatives passed H.R. 2189 that contains Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s bipartisan legislation (H.R. 2138 - The Ending the VA Claims Disability Backlog and Accountability Act) to hold the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) accountable and ensure that our veterans’ disability benefits claims are processed in a timely fashion. The legislation passed on a vote of 404-1.
This legislation would implement the non-partisan Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) recommendations to streamline required paperwork and communications between federal agencies, and ensure continued Congressional oversight of the administration’s plan to clear the compensation claims backlog. The bill also provides new required training programs for VA employees who process claims to ensure these individuals properly and accurately complete their tasks that serve our veterans.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy issued the following statement:
“I’m pleased that my colleagues have joined my effort to make necessary and important reforms to the VA to ensure that our veterans’ claims are processed accurately and in a timely fashion. The reforms in this bill are intended to change not only the culture of the VA but also the processes themselves to eliminate the backlog of claims at the VA. I hope the Senate will take immediate action and pass this legislation.”
Congressman McCarthy also gave remarks on the House floor and can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O9rjB3ii4I
· After receiving complaints from local veterans on the amount of time it takes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to process veterans’ disability claims and schedule medical appointments, Congressman McCarthy led his colleagues in requesting that Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct an audit of the VA to ensure our veterans get the benefits and medical services they are entitled to in a timely manner.
· The GAO audits found various problems, such as the failure to implement VA claims processing policies consistently across regions and the timely transfer of records between the Defense Department, Social Security Administration, and National Guard.
· In response, the VA announced a goal to reduce the claims backlog to 125 days sometime in 2015 and increase processing accuracy to 98%. However, the GAO audit concluded this plan lacks any metrics or deadlines to ensure these goals are met.
· The House Committee on Veterans Affairs has held several hearings with senior VA officials on the disability rating claims backlog and the VA has yet to provide the House with any specific details as to how their plan will affect the backlog.