U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) re-introduced the Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act of 2017, H.R. 1725, a bill that cuts through red tape within the Department of Veterans Affairs and seeks to reduce the benefit-claims backlog. The legislation was introduced with fellow co-chairman of the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) and U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN).
“These men and women put their lives on the line for our country and it’s a disgrace the VA is putting those same lives at risk by refusing to cut through red tape and bureaucratic backlogs,” said Denham. “This bill will ensure our nation’s heroes, especially those here in the Valley where accessibility to VA facilities is limited, will get timely access to the care that they were promised.”
Denham said there are thousands of veterans experiencing benefits backlogs, which is classified as 125 days or more of waiting for a claim to be processed by the VA. The Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act of 2017 amends a current requirement stipulating that initial physical examinations of those seeking to file claims must be conducted by the VA by allowing veterans to see a local doctor for the exam, which will ease the benefits process for veterans in rural communities, expedite diagnoses of disabilities and reduce wait times and backlog. The bill also requires the VA to give two reports — one 180 days after passage and an annual account — that will provide updates on the bill’s implementation as well as more information about VA denial of claims that used evidence by local doctors.
Rep. Denham, Rep. Walz and Sen. Franken have previously introduced the Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act in the 114th and 113th Congresses.