Representative Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) spearheaded a bi-partisan letter to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Benefits, Gen. Alison Hickey, urging the VA to provide matching funds for the State of California's Joint Claims Initiative.
In addition to Representative Brownley, every California Member of the U.S. House Veterans' Affairs Committee signed the letter: Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Raul Ruiz, Rep. Paul Cook, Rep. Jeff Denham, and Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Dear Mr. Under Secretary Hickey:
We write to follow-up on the discussion during the House Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing on May 22, 2013 about the State of California's "Joint Claims Initiative" to help eliminate the veterans' claims backlog. We write to respectfully request the Veterans Benefits Administration provide matching funds for the Joint Claims Initiative.
As you know, there are currently 64,000 claims statewide in California that are considered backlogged. There seem to be particular challenges at the Los Angeles and Oakland regional offices.
Following a model implemented by the Governor of Texas, the State of California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) has proposed helping VA regional offices to fully develop claims. Further, the state would like to establish a CalVet service academy to train county veterans' services officers and veterans'' service organization staff on the latest techniques and operating procedures to ensure that claims are fully developed when submitted to VA in an effort to expedite processing and approval of these claims.
Again, we request that the Veterans Benefits Administration provide matching funds for the Joint Claims Initiative. Thank you in advance for your attention to our request.
Member of Congress