Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter continued her commitment to addressing the current challenges facing veterans and military families. She is announcing her support for: a package of bills to address the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) backlog of claims for disability compensation; legislation to help returning veterans get a job; and a House Resolution to reduce sexual assault in the military.
"Soldiers pledge never to leave one of their own behind on the battlefield, and we should honor that pledge by refusing to leave soldiers, veterans, or their families behind," Shea-Porter said. "This common sense legislation will help veterans access the health benefits they've earned, find a job they're qualified for, and help eliminate the scourge of sexual assault in the military."
The package of bills to address the VA claims backlog would help settle veterans' claims and compensation faster by:
* Extending the VA's authority to have contractors provide medical exams, giving the VA much needed support in processing claims.
* Ensuring the Department of Defense provides certified, complete, and electronic records to the VA within 21 days.
* Expediting claims processing by educating veterans on the quickest route to receive their decision.
* Bringing greater transparency to the backlog by requiring the VA to track information in an online setting.
* Strengthening accountability by requesting the VA provide quarterly updates to Congress on the timeliness of other agencies in fulfilling their information requests.
* Requesting the Veterans Benefits Administration establish a pilot that would utilize the highest performing offices to adjudicate the most difficult and time consuming claims, such as PTSD.
* Encouraging the VA to look at better ways to process claims in an electronic system.
In addition to helping returning troops access the health care they deserve, Shea-Porter is committed to helping them find a job. That's why she recently cosponsored the Veteran Employment Transition Act, which would allow employers to claim a new, streamlined $2,400 credit when they hire a recently discharged veteran.
To help reduce sexual assault in the military, Shea-Porter signed onto H.Res. 213, which would establish the Special Committee on Sexual Assault and Abuse in the Armed Forces to conduct oversight, ensure accountability, and report on the activities of the Department of Defense to prevent, reduce, prosecute, and provide victims' services for cases of sexual assault and abuse in the Armed Forces.