Senators urge Obama to help resolve veterans claims backlog

President Obama greets members of the military during a ceremony to welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the White House on April 17. (Carolyn Kaster/AP). President Obama greets members of the military during a ceremony to welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the White House on April 17. (Carolyn Kaster/AP).

A letter signed by a bipartisan group of 67 senators was sent to the White House Monday urging President Obama to take direct action in resolving the backlog of veterans disability claims.

“We need direct and public involvement from you to establish a clear plan to end the backlog once and for all,” states the letter to Obama, which was put together by Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Dean Heller, (R-Nev.) and signed by more than two-thirds of Senate members.

The number of disability claims pending with the Department of Veterans Affairs is nearly 900,000, with more than 600,000 in the system for more than 125 days.

The letter noted that the number of pending claims has grown by over 2,000 percent in the last four years despite a 40 percent increase in the VA’s budget over that time.

Veterans in some VA regional offices, including Baltimore, can wait a year or more to have their claims resolved

“Our veterans now need to hear from the President about how he plans to bring the number of veterans in the backlog to zero,” said Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which has called for the appointment of a presidential commission to examine the issue.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough

Other veterans groups, including Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, oppose the creation of a commission, saying that the issue has been studied enough and that more action and fewer words are needed.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told reporters this month that Obama has made clearing out the backlog an administration priority. “Nobody is going to be more impatient about this than the guy we’re reporting to on a regular basis . . . the president,” he added.

politics

federal-eye

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Politics

politics

federal-eye

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Next Story
Steve Vogel · April 29, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.