“The bottom line is that this program is working. It’s not only getting veterans decisions on their claims faster, but it’s also going to help reduce the overall backlog” said the subcommittee’s Ranking Member Rep. Dina Titus (NV-01). “The update we received on the fully developed claims initiative was encouraging, and I’m committed to continuing to work with the VA and veterans service organizations to promote awareness of this important program. I would like to thank Representative O’Rourke for introducing a bill to help educate veterans about this initiative. I hope the full House will consider this legislation soon.”
Ranking Member Titus has conducted outreach with veteran service organizations in her congressional district to promote the Fully Developed Claims program. Her full opening statement from today’s hearing can be found here.
Earlier this year, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX-16) introduced H.R. 1809, the Veterans’ Benefits Claim Faster Filing Act. H.R. 1809 would:
- Direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to post notices of average times for the processing of compensation claims, as well as the percentage of claims approved, in a conspicuous place in each VA regional office and claims intake facility and on the VA website;
- Require the Secretary to notify each person submitting a claim of the above information, as well as the person’s eligibility to receive up to an extra year of benefit payments upon filing a claim that is fully developed; and
- Require the notice information to be updated at least quarterly.
H.R. 1809 was part of a legislative package introduced by House Democrats to tackle the VA backlog. On August 1, 2013, H.R. 1809 was included in H.R. 2189 and passed out of the full House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
“Providing veterans with information about how long it takes to process claims in different formats will incentivize them to file their claims using the fastest and most efficient method,” said Rep. O’Rourke. “My legislation will also help the VA in their transition to an online claims filing system. The result will be shorter wait times and increased accuracy. We owe a tremendous amount to our veterans. We can uphold our end of the bargain by ensuring they receive the benefits they have earned in a timely manner.”