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Senator takes action to address VA claims backlog

A Texas lawmaker thinks the Department of Veterans Affairs can learn a thing or two from his state’s efforts in addressing VA’s claims backlog.

A Texas lawmaker thinks the Department of Veterans Affairs can learn a thing or two from his state’s efforts in addressing VA’s claims backlog.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn on Nov. 28 filed an amendment to the defense authorization bill that would require the VA to adopt Texas’s model of streamlining the claims process, which calls for ensuring that new claims are fully developed before they are submitted.

According to a press release from his office,  in the last two years alone the number of backlogged veterans’ claims nationwide has more than doubled.

“This is a national disgrace, and veterans with pending claims deserve more than just rhetoric from VA headquarters in Washington,” Cornyn said. “The massive backlog of VA disability claims reminds us that far too many veterans are being underserved."

In Cornyn’s state, the Texas Veterans Commission partnered with the VA to assist with the claims to ensure completion and accuracy to shorten the processing time; during the first two months of the partnership more than 2,500 backlogged claims were processed and more than 800 fully developed claims were completed.

Cornyn’s amendment would require VA to adopt a similar partnership with outside entities.

In testimony before a House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee, VA officials reported that the department has experienced positive outcomes through their cooperation with the TVC, according to the release.

VA, which has attracted taken criticism for its claims backlog, already cultivates partnerships with veterans service organizations to help vets put together these “fully developed claims”—claims that contain all the available supporting evidence vets need to launch a claim that will make it through processing faster.  As part of that effort,  VA hosted a workshop in July for 10 VSOs with the aim of ramping up the groups’ role in VA’s effort to eliminate that claims backlog.

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