Henry Cuellar votes for funds to reduce veterans’ claims backlog

The Fiscal Year 2015 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill includes resources to address the claims backlog at the VA.

Henry Cuellar

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KGNS) - Congressman Henry Cuellar announces the Appropriations Committee has successfully passed two of 12 funding bills out of committee that require strong steps to address the Veterans Affairs claims backlog.

According to a press release sent from Cuellar's secretary, the FY15 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill would:

- Provide $173.3 million for the Veterans Benefit Management System and an additional $20 million to the Veterans Benefit Administration for digital scanning of old paper files, the centralized mail initiative, and staff overtime.

- Withhold 75% of the VistA Evolution funds until VA provides information on the system, particularly regarding planned interoperability with DoD.

- Continue to require the VA to provide monthly reports on claims processing and remediation efforts for underperforming regional offices.

Rep. Cuellar was also successful in including the following language in the FY15 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and will work to ensure it remains in the bill as it continues to be considered:

- Urging the Department of Defense to develop a prioritized plan to update infrastructure in and around military bases, specifically for communities that have invested in transportation infrastructure.

- Encouraging the Army National Guard and Air National Guard to establish test sites in conjunction with Customs and Border Protection for unmanned systems on the southern border in order to further bolster enforcement resources on the border.

- Requiring the Veterans Administration to develop results oriented performance measures on accuracy and reduction of the time it takes to process veterans disability benefits claims, improvement of quality and accessibility of healthcare, veterans education, and vocational rehabilitation and employment, among others.

For more information on the Appropriations bill visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=376068

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