Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada's First District today praised House passage of the Pay as You Rate Act (H.R. 2086) and H.R. 1405. Introduced by Titus, the Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, both bills are designed to expedite the benefits claims process, prevent the creation of an appeals backlog, and ensure that veterans receive the benefits they have earned in a timely fashion.
The Pay as You Rate Act expedites the benefit claims process for veterans by requiring the Veterans Administration to pay benefits to veterans as individual components of their claims are reviewed, rather than at the completion of the entire claim. The VA currently only pays veterans when their entire claim has been reviewed and processed. The Pay as You Rate Act was passed today as part of a legislative package, H.R. 2189, designed to help the VA meet its goal of eliminating the claims backlog by 2015.
"Despite the national progress that has been made to decrease the backlog, veterans in District One and across the country continue to wait far too long for the benefits they earned serving in our Armed Services," said Titus. "The Pay as You Rate Act is a common sense approach that will provide tens of thousands of veterans and their families much needed financial support."
H.R. 1405 seeks to reduce the processing time for veterans appealing their rating decision. Currently, when veterans receive a rating decision and they wish to appeal, they must request an appeals form from the VA and then wait for the VA to send them the form. H.R. 1405 directs the VA to include a standardized form to begin the appeals process with every rating decision issued, so that veterans do not need to wait 60 days just to receive instructions on filing their appeal.
"I'm pleased that the overall backlog of claims has been a top priority for the VA, but I'm concerned that an increased focus on claims has led to a decreased focus on veterans' appeals," said Titus. "By eliminating an unnecessary bureaucratic step, my bill will increase the efficiency of the appeals process, reduce the timeframe of the appeals process by 60 days, and save the VA approximately 50,000 man hours. Improving the speed and efficiency of both the claims process and the appeals system will be a small step forward recognizing these men and women for their sacrifices."