Introduced the 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act – comprehensive legislation designed to reduce the backlog of veterans’ disability claims
May 06 2015
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the VA Backlog Working Group, today joined Working Group chairs Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Bob Casey (D-Penn.) in introducing the 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act – comprehensive legislation designed to create a system that can withstand surges in disability claims without generating another veteran disability claims backlog. Text of the legislation is available by clicking HERE.
The senators also released the VA Backlog Working Group 2015 Report in which the Working Group identifies the progress that has been made on the claims backlog since 2014, which Working Group recommendations have been implemented by the VA and Congress, and what actions must still be taken to fully transition the VA to a 21st century benefits delivery system. You can click HERE to read their report.
"I continue to hear troubling stories from Kansans and Veteran Service Organizations about the VA claims process," Sen. Moran said. "We know our veterans deserve better; they deserve the best our nation has to offer. The VA Claims Backlog Working Group is a thoughtful effort to take clear and decisive action to fix the dysfunction in the VA claims system. The common-sense solutions we offer in the 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act are overwhelmingly supported by Veteran Service Organizations, who know this issue inside and out. The Senate now has a set of concrete solutions that deserves a vote and that the VA should adopt to make real and meaningful change."
The 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act includes proposals to reform three areas: the benefits claims submission process; the practices of regional offices; and government response to backlogs.
The report and legislation were endorsed by several Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), including Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). You can click each organization above to read their letters of support. These organizations have provided and will continue to provide the Working Group with invaluable input.
Details of the 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act:
The 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act proposes three areas of improvement to the claims process to ensure more accurate and timely decisions for our nation’s veterans.
Title I – Benefits Claims Submission. This title will assist and educate veterans on the benefits of submitting a completed claim and encourages the use of the resources and services available to help a veteran complete a claim.
- Ensures veterans’ have access to information about the claims process through eBenefits.
- Encourages DOD to ensure VSOs have greater access to participate in Transition Assistance Program (TAP) seminars.
- Grants more expeditious hearings for veterans appealing a claim decision.
Title II – Reforming Practices of VA Regional Offices. Personnel and management must be given tools to perform efficiently. This title institutes improvements to Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) processes to increase accuracy and efficiency at the regional office level, and ensure transparency.
- Improves management through a GAO assessment of good management practices, implementation of a training program for certain managers, and establishing better communication with VSOs and Congress.
- Ensures that critical issues – including the Resource Allocation Model, improvements to the Veterans Benefits Management System, and the inventory of dependency and non-rating related claims – are properly addressed by the VA.
- Increases transparency to the public and lawmakers on the size and scope of the current backlog.
Title III – Government Response. This section holds the government accountable and helps to ensure the claims process is a priority.
- Establishes better cooperation from federal agencies to transfer requested information.
- Presses VBA employees to process information it receives from these agencies in a timely fashion.