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H.R. 2189 will reduce the backlog of veterans’ claims

The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (www.dvnf.org), a nonprofit veterans service organization that focuses on helping men and women who serve and return home wounded or sick after defending our safety and our freedom, is praising recent legislation that would form a commission to evaluate new ways to reduce the backlog of veterans’ claims.

H.R. 2189 was passed earlier this week in the House, by a vote of 404-1. The legislation would create a task force that would evaluate the claims process and figure out more efficient ways to reduce the backlog. The bill would include both claims awaiting an initial decision and those where a veteran has appealed the decision. In addition to a task force being formed, the bill also includes a “Pay As You Rate” provision that seeks to help veterans who are currently awaiting a decision on multiple claims. For cases in which veterans have filed claims for multiple disabilities, the bill would require the VA to begin making partial payments to the veteran for each individual disability decision made during the process.

The VA would also be required to provide information to veterans about the fastest way of getting a decision, as well as providing publicly available information to track claims and compare the performance of VA regional offices.

“The VA backlog is one of the most pressing issues concerning veterans today,” said DVNF Executive Director, Joseph VanFonda (SgtMaj Ret). “I believe that, because the backlog of claims spans generations of veterans, anything that can be done to resolve it, should be done.”

DVNF is especially pleased with the “Pay As You Rate” provision. The organization stated that it has been approached by many veterans who are unable to work due to service-connected disabilities, but have been awaiting a claims decision for months on end, even though some disability decisions can be made much quicker. The decision to begin payments on a part of the claim that requires less time to process often prevents veterans from financial misfortune while awaiting the full decision on the claim.

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