HVAC Approves Bills to Speed up Veterans Disability Benefits
The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs (HVAC) marked up and approved several proposals that include two FRA-supported bills that aim to improve adjudication of disability claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The “Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act” (H.R.2288), sponsored by Rep. Mike Bost (Ill.) addresses the growing backlog of disability appeal cases. There are more than 470,000 cases awaiting appeal.
The bill would create three “lanes” for veterans’ appeals, and would give the Secretary the authority to test the new system prior to full implementation. It would also allow some veterans, already going through the appeals process, to opt into the new system. It would require the VA to provide a comprehensive plan for processing legacy appeals-appeals filed before the effective date of the bill.
The Committee also approved The “Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act” (H.R.1725), introduced by Rep. Tim Walz (Minn.). The bill requires (current law allows) the VA to accept, for purposes of establishing a claim for veterans disability benefits, a report of a medical examination administered by a private physician. If the report is sufficiently complete, it no longer requires confirmation by a Veterans Health Administration physician.
Both of these legislative proposals are listed on our website in the FRA Action Center and members are urged to ask their representatives to support the bill.