In advance of Memorial Day, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a new initiative that would help reduce the backlog of disability claims in Ohio. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who has called on the VA to work closely with veterans service organizations (VSOs) to reduce the backlog, applauded today's announcement. The VA has committed to end the backlog in 2015 and process claims within 125 days by connecting veterans with veterans' service organizations (VSOs) to ensure that veterans properly and fully complete their disability claims.
"While the VA is making progress in reducing the backlog, too many veterans are waiting far too long to receive the compensation," Brown said. "By linking veterans to organizations like the DAV and American Legion and the VA, we can ensure that veterans have the information and assistance they need to improve their claim and reduce wait times."
In May 2012, Brown introduced the Veterans Services Outreach Act, which would require the VA to notify Ohio veterans and their families of assistance available to them in filing for VA benefits electronically. The bill would alert veterans to trusted third-party advocates, like VSOs, that can help veterans assemble detailed, accurate, and complete claims that are more likely to be processed quickly--shrinking the current backlog.
Last year, the VA processed 1 million claims from our nation's veterans, but 1.3 million new claims were submitted to the VA. Because of understaffing and technology issues, the backlog has delayed or prevented veterans from receiving the benefits they have earned.
Brown is the first Ohioan to serve a full term on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.