Congressman Williams holds VA’s feet to the fire on backlog
This week, U.S. Congressman Roger Williams (TX-25) took immediate action after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) release its report detailing the staggering amount of unresolved and unprocessed claims nationwide.
Williams released the following statement along with a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki demanding action. A copy of the letter can be read here.
“I will never waver in serving those who have served us. Our veterans deserve nothing less. In 2009, it took an average of 161 days for the VA to make an initial rating decision for each claim. With over 1 million veterans currently waiting for claims to be processed nationwide, the average wait time has risen. VA officials still say they will meet their goal to eliminate the backlog by 2015, but this is unattainable at the current rate.
“To make matters worse, the former director of the VA Waco regional office received more than $53,000 in performance bonuses while the average wait time for veterans who file a claim there averages 440 days, or 150 days longer than the national average. Last week, the VA announced it would withhold executive bonuses in 2013 and invest the savings in reducing its nationwide backlog of pending claims.
“While this is welcome news, the inefficiencies and inaccuracies in processing benefits claims has reached a critical tipping point. I fear this crisis that may worsen over time as more men and women begin to return home from Iraq and Afghanistan. This backlog is unacceptable and a disservice to all of the men and women who have admirably served our country. That’s why I am holding the VA’s feet to the fire. After the release of last week’s report, I sent a letter to Secretary Eric Shinseki insisting on an action within the next 30 days to specify how the nationwide backlog will be eliminated. Our troops deserve better, and I will continue to hound the agency to provide better service to our veterans. I will never stop until our veterans get the respect they deserve and the treatment they desire.”
Williams represents a portion of Bell County, including Fort Hood.
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