The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bipartisan amendment last week to increase funding for the Veterans Benefit Administration.
The amendment, co-sponsored by U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), will increase funding for the Veterans Benefit Administration by $10 million. The funds are to be used to help tackle the disability claims backlog.
“Our veterans disability claims backlog is unacceptable,” said Denham. “This amendment will help more of our vets receive the benefits and care they deserve in a timely fashion.”
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has set a goal of eliminating the disability claim backlog by 2015, and Congress has provided billions in additional funding to improve technology, hire additional staff, and reform the rating process for time-sensitive decisions in response to Shinseki’s goal. This amendment builds on those efforts that have already been done. Veterans should be able to gain access to the disability benefits that they require, however in some cases, they don’t know if they are entitled if they haven’t been told. Researching key phrases such as ‘What Is Disability Insurance & How Does It Work?‘ Will help them get a better understanding of how they can be assisted.
Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) were also co-sponsors of the amendment.
This amendment continues Denham’s veteran affairs work. Last May Denham introduced the Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act, which looks to end redundant Department of Veteran Affairs claims processing practices, allowing veterans to receive their benefits more rapidly.
Denham also introduced the Efficient Service for Veterans Act, which allows veterans quicker access to their DD-214s, allowing them to move forward with their claims.