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Congresswoman Fudge Statement on Memorial Day and Backlog of veteran Disability Claims

Press Release

Location: Warrensville Heights, OH

As Americans prepare to observe Memorial Day on Monday, May 27, 2013, Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge urges all constituents to join her in remembering and giving thanks to the men and women of our armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation's freedom.

"We must never forget the debt we owe to our troops who gave their lives to protect and defend the freedom and democracy we enjoy. Let us be mindful that we are still a nation at war and U.S. troops remain in harm's way in Afghanistan. I am thankful the President has kept his commitment to end the war in Iraq in a responsible way and is working toward a drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan," said Congresswoman Fudge.

"We must care for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, when they're abroad and when they come home. Our nation's two million active duty troops and 22 million veterans have my solemn commitment that just as the military vows to leave no soldier behind; I will work to ensure that we leave no veteran behind."

Congresswoman Fudge has supported a wide variety of initiatives to ensure that returning veterans have access to jobs and educational opportunities. These include providing tax credits for businesses that hire veterans to creating a Veterans Job Corps. She is also working to address the alarming backlog of pending disability claims on behalf of the 47,000 veterans in Ohio's Eleventh Congressional District. The Congresswoman has met with Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and urged him to address the frustrating delays veterans face in having their claims processed. She is also a co-sponsor of the Veterans Backlog Reduction Act, which would ensure that any veteran who must wait more than 125 days for a ruling, receive compensation at a 40 percent rating pending a final ruling on that claim.

Background: A dramatic increase in veteran claims for disability benefits has occurred with more U.S. troops coming home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and veterans exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam finally receiving their deserved benefits. There are approximately 878,000 disability claims pending, with nearly 600,000 in the backlog (pending for more than 125 days).

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