THE ISSUES

Benefits Backlog

Our veterans need the ability to access their benefits in a timely effective manner. According to the testimony by Secretary Shinseki, the VA will work to ensure no more than 40% of claims are no more than 125 days old. Although VA has improved the response time for compensation and benefit claims, I am continuing to push the VA to improve and anticipate the growing number of veterans and their specific needs. The VA has experienced a 48% increase in claims since 2008, and the VA expects this trend to continue with an increase by 4.2%, or 1.25 million claims, in 2013. The budget proposal allocates over $5 billion to improve benefits processing by implementing a reliable Information Technology (IT) infrastructure for paperless claims processing. While I encourage their endeavors to bring the VA into the 21st century, I am reluctant to solely rely on technology to solve the backlog issue. This technology will help to process claims quicker, but we must remain vigilante in our duties to ensure its effectiveness.


Paid for by Friends of Cliff Stearns, Copyright 2012