Shutdown Update #7. Shutdown Silver Lining for Veterans

Congress Adds $300 Million to VA Budget to Fix Claim Delay and Error Crisis.  

Here’s a rare piece of good news resulting from the temporary partial shutdown of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) between October 1 and October 17:  as part of the deal to reopen the government Congress handed VA “nearly $300 million” to address the infamous disability claim backlog at the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA).

Rumors were floating around days that there was new money to help disabled veterans deal with the infamous backlog of nearly one million pending claims languishing at VBA.  Now CBS News confirms that U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) added the funds to the continuing resolution to keep our Federal Government open through January 15, 2014.

Let us all hope VBA puts the money to good use finishing the new computerized claim processing system, hiring staff, training staff, providing oversight, and paying overtime with the specific goals of improving both the quality and speed of VBA disability claim decisions.

The funding is truly a silver lining for veterans who already wait far too long for VBA.  As Bergmann & Moore reported before, 53 Veterans die each day waiting on VBA to decide their disability claims.


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