Today, Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) sent a letter to Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki urging for the timely completion of the department's report on a plan to reduce the backlog of claims. Along with Latta, there were 14 additional Members from the Ohio delegation that signed onto the letter. Under current law the Department of Veterans Affairs is required to submit a report to Congress on its plan to reduce the backlog of claims.
“Ohio is home to almost a million veterans, who have made great sacrifices to serve and protect America, and it is critical that our nation honor its commitment to our veterans and returning warfighters. The VA must ensure accessibility to all veterans and focus its resources on expediting the large backlog of medical and retirement claims,” said Congressman Latta.
Since 2008, the veteran claims backlog has doubled in number. The average processing time for claims is approximately nine months.
Read a signed copy of the letter here.
Full text of the letter is below.
January 28, 2013
Eric K. Shinseki
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Room 500
Washington D.C. 20420
Dear Secretary Shinseki:
First and foremost, we would like to thank you for your hard work and dedicated service in helping our nation’s veterans. The sacrifices our veterans, and their families, have made for our country is the very reason we as Americans are able to enjoy the freedoms we have today. Just as you are, we are grateful for their service every day, and feel it is of the utmost importance that veterans are fully cared for upon their return home.
Unfortunately, many veterans are forced to wait an unprecedented amount of time before their benefits claims are processed. In our state of Ohio, some veterans have had to wait up to nearly a year for their claims to be processed. This is unacceptable, and our veterans deserve better and more efficient service from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Fortunately, the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013 contains language that requires the VA to provide a report to Congress on a plan to reduce the backlog of claims. We look forward to receiving the report as soon as possible. This report is an important step; however, it is imperative that you and your staff act quickly and decisively to implement the report’s findings and ensure veterans and their families are properly taken care of in a timely manner. We appreciate your time and attention to this urgent matter and look forward to your response.