Legislation cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, which will help address the significant claims backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs, has been signed into law by the president.


“It is my honor to represent 85,000 veterans in Southern Arizona – men and women who have stepped forward to serve their nation,” Barber said today. “I am deeply committed to ensuring that veterans quickly and efficiently get the assistance and benefits they have earned. And this law takes us closer to that goal.”


The National Defense Authorization Act, which has been signed by the president, contains provisions of the VA Claims, Operations and Records Efficiency Act, which Barber cosponsored.


The legislation directs the Department of Defense to provide the complete service treatment records of veterans to the Department of Veterans Affairs in an efficient, electronic format.


Currently, the average veteran waits more than 250 days for a decision on a claim. About 175 days of that time is the VA waiting for the Pentagon to send the complete records, which DOD currently processes on paper rather than electronically.


The claims backlog is a growing and serious problem. As of Dec. 28, 2013, the VA had 685,931 claims pending. Of those, 395,139 claims were pending more than 125 days, at which point they are considered to be backlogged. Veterans are filing disability compensation claims at historically high levels, with the VA receiving more than 1 million claims annually.


Barber’s congressional website includes a comprehensive Veterans’ Resource Center with an extensive list of contacts for veterans seeking employment, medical services, housing and many other services.


Barber is a member of the Veterans Jobs Caucus and the House Armed Services Committee. About 1 of every 6 adults Barber represents is a veteran. Since he took office more than 1½ years ago, Barber has been deeply involved in legislation affecting veterans. Here is some of what he has done:


He is an original cosponsor of the Veteran Employment Transition Act that will provide employers with a tax credit for hiring recently discharged veterans.

He sponsored the Veterans Transportation Service Act that will make permanent the authority of the VA to transport individuals to and from VA facilities for treatment, rehabilitation, counseling and care.

He cosponsored the Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act to expand access to housing assistance to injured, low-income wartime veterans.

He cosponsored the Protecting Veterans’ Pensions Act, that will target financial companies that take advantage of veterans by selling them estate planning services and other financial products that prevent veterans from accessing their assets.

(2) comments


Democrats and Republicans are jumping to take on the VA Backlog. Not one of these people gave a second thought to the cruel way the VA is treating our veterans until the past few weeks. After the fiasco of the government shutdown, the spying incident, and the Obama-Care that can't be accessed, politicians from both parties are scrambling to save their jobs! Elected officials finally realize that voters are going to get rid of every Incumbent in the next few elections.
Politicians are claiming they are going to fix the VA Backlog, and they deserve credit for it. Congress and the Senate, with the President's blessing, passed several pieces of legislation, giving the VA billions of dollars. Yet, 700,000 of our injured, sick and wounded American veteran soldiers are still suffering and dying while begging for help from the VA.
The VA executives, lawyers and claims adjusters are sure enjoying that billions of taxpayers' dollars. They are getting huge salaries, $20,000-$50,000 in annual bonuses for not doing their job, complete family medical benefits (not Obama Care, either), and trips to exotic places for so-called conferences in 5-Star hotels, with lavish meals, spas, and etc.
Every day, VA claims adjusters pick up veteran's claims, glances at them briefly, and immediately deny them. A letter is sent to the disabled veterans, and they must then appeal this decision. Once the appeal is sent back to the VA, it goes into a much worse backlog, the VA Claims Appeals Backlog. This backlog is better known as cardboard boxes full of claims tossed into some storage room. Once the veteran's claim reaches this appeals level, it will be 5-7 years, or maybe more before the claim is glanced at again. Appeals are never worked on, because the claims that are in appeals do not count toward the number of backlogged claims the VA has to report. So, the VA goal is deny as many claims as possible, get them into appeals, and forget they exist. "DENY, DENY, UNTIL THEY DIE!"


The VA is not settling claims and taking care of disabled American veterans! Hickey, Shinseki and the rest are DENYING nearly every claim, forcing all the veterans to submit appeals. Once the veterans' claims are denied and shuffled to APPEALS, they no longer have to be counted as " BACK-LOGGED CLAIMS." So Hickey, Shinseki, and their band of heartless thieves can FORGET ABOUT all those injured, sick and wounded Americans who served our country and protected us all from harm! Once a veteran soldier's claim reaches the appeals stage, it WILL BE YEARS before it is glanced at again, IF EVER! At the APPEALS STAGE, our WOUNDED WARRIORS must appear before a CIVILIAN VA JUDGE to BEG FOR COMPENSATION and MEDICAL CARE THAT THEY EARNED and RIGHTFULLY DESERVE for THEIR SERVICE TO THIS GREAT COUNTRY! These VA JUDGES are just more HIGHLY- PAID, PRIVILEDGED LAWYERS who never served a day of their lives in the UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES! OUR WOUNDED WARRIORS should not have to bow down to these guys and BEG FOR HELP! WE ALL NEED TO STAND UP and STOP the VA's CRUEL TREATMENT of OUR AMERICAN MILITARY VETERANS TODAY!


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