Congressman Joe Baca (D-CA) recently introduced legislation to reduce the backlog of veterans' claims for benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Rep. Baca said, "This legislation has the potential to help break the logjam that ties up delays in processing claims and awarding benefits to veterans. As a veteran myself, I have great respect for the men and women who have proudly and honorably served our nation, and I want to help them get the benefits they deserve in a timely manner."
Rep. Baca's bill, the Department of Veterans Affairs Claims Backlog Reduction Act (H.R. 1435) directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a 3-year pilot program in California, Florida, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas. Under the program, the claims process would be streamlined through the involvement of the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers (NACVSO). Veterans, dependents and survivors would be able to file their federal claims directly through their local CVSO.
Ann Knowles, President of NACVSO, said, "NACVSO is very pleased to sponsor this bill as it addresses the problems of the backlog and gives a solution in helping to reduce the backlog. We feel that County Service Officers, State Service Officers and Veterans Service Organizations are the solution to fully developed, ready to rate claims. This is a positive way to reduce the backlog. The County Veterans Service Officer, State Service Officer and Veteran Service Organizations stand ready to assist the veteran to file a fully developed ready to rate claims."
Rep. Baca has recently introduced other legislation reflecting his strong commitment to veterans, including H. Res. 237, a resolution that would support the greater recogntion of Veterans Day, and H.R. 440, a bill that would provide for the use of gold in the content of the Medal of Honor.
Rep. Baca is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper with both the 101st and the 82nd Airborne Divisions from 1966-68.