Rep. Raul M. Grijalva today highlighted yesterday's House vote on the Democratic alternative to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2216). The alternative, formally known as a Motion to Recommit, would have added $9.2 million in nationwide funding -- double the figure in the Republican version of the bill -- to hire 94 more claims processors to help reduce the chronic veterans disability claims backlog. The increase would be offset by unused military construction funds.
There are currently more than 900,000 veterans disability claims waiting to be processed. The average wait time is 9 months, and for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is closer to 11 months, as explained in March by CNN. You can read more at http://bit.ly/18Xdi6y.
"Soldiers and veterans don't deserve to be ignored when they ask for the benefits they worked and fought so hard to earn," Grijalva said. "I've heard all kinds of heartbreaking stories from Southern Arizonans about how the backlog has affected their lives. Late treatments, less income, lower quality housing and fewer services aren't what they signed up for or what they were promised."
Grijalva voted for the Democratic alternative, which did not pass. The Republican version with the lower funding level passed the House and now goes to the Senate.
Veterans can learn more about disability benefits at http://www.ebenefits.va.gov.