Rep. Takano Joins Five Members of Congress Requesting the VA Reduce Veterans’ Claims Backlog
Washington, DC— Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) and five other Members of Congress from California sent a letter to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Benefits General Alison Hickey requesting the VA provide matching funds to the State of California for its Joint Claims Initiative.
Joined by Rep. Julia Brownley, Rep. Raul Ruiz, Rep. Paul Cook, Rep. Jeff Denham, and Rep. Gloria Negrete-McLeod, the letter detailed recent difficulties in California saying, “There are currently 64,000 claims statewide in California that are considered backlogged. There seem to be particular challenges at the Los Angeles and Oakland regional offices.”
Full Text Below:
Dear Madam Under Secretary Hickey:
We write to follow-up on the discussion during the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on May 22, 2013 about the State of California’s “Joint Claims Initiative” to help eliminate the veterans’ claims backlog. We write to respectfully request the Veterans Benefits Administration provide matching funds for the Joint Claims Initiative.
As you know, there are currently 64,000 claims statewide in California that are considered backlogged. There seem to be particular challenges at the Los Angeles and Oakland regional offices.
Following a model implemented by the Governor of Texas, the State of California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) has proposed helping VA regional offices to fully develop claims. Further, the state would like to establish a CalVet service academy to train county veterans’ services officers and veterans’’ service organization staff on the latest techniques and operating procedures to ensure that claims are fully developed when submitted to VA in an effort to expedite processing and approval of these claims.
Again, we request that the Veterans Benefits Administration provide matching funds for the Joint Claims Initiative. Thank you in advance for your attention to our request.
Members of Congress