Washington, DC – Today, the bipartisan 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act (S. 1203) passed the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The legislation, introduced earlier this year by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Dean Heller (R-NV), creates reforms at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to eliminate the disability claims backlog and improve the claims process. Following committee passage, the senators issued these statements:
“I’m pleased that the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has passed this legislation,” Senator Bob Casey said. “Now is the time to advance bipartisan legislation that will move the VA’s disability claims system into the 21st Century so that it delivers the relief that our veterans and their families deserve. It’s simply unacceptable to have a veteran with a disability wait hundreds of days for their claim to be resolved.”
“The VA claims backlog is an issue that impacts veterans in every state, and Nevada in particular has one of the worst in the nation. While there is no silver bullet to solving this problem, our bill moves us one step closer to eliminating the VA Backlog once and for all. America’s selfless veterans and their families have made tremendous sacrifices defending our country, and we must do everything possible to hold the VA accountable on their behalf. I am proud to work with Senator Casey and pleased we are one step closer to this legislation becoming law,” said Senator Dean Heller.
In May, Senators Casey and Heller 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.
The 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act and the VA Backlog Working Group 2015 Report 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).