Committee Chair also Seeks to Shorten Appeal Window as Delays Hit New Record.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the Chairman of Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, announced his support for hiring more staff, especially veterans, to fix the claim delay and error crisis now engulfing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Chairman Sanders told Army Times his proposal would, “create a generation of adjudicators throughout VA who can identify with the experiences of the population they serve.”
- New Sanders Bill
On May 9, 2013, Senator Sanders introduced new legislation that would shorten the amount of time a Veteran has to appeal a rating decision issued by VA. Under current law, Veterans have one year. Under Sanders’ proposal, veterans would have only 180 days. His bill is S 928, “The Claims Processing Improvement Act of 2013.”
- VA Sets Record Delays
As of May 13, 2013, VA’s average time to complete a claim hit another new nationwide record: 338 days. Congress is aware of the longer delays. Army Times reporter Rick Maze quoted the Senator as saying VA “focuses almost exclusively on speed, often to the detriment of quality.”
VA’s worst office remains Los Angeles, with an average of 588 days. St. Paul has the best, at 112 days. VA’s nationwide goal is 125 days.