Bill seeking to streamline VA claims advances in Congress

WASHINGTON — A bill that seeks to trim time off the backlog of claims facing the Department of Veterans Affairs advanced in Congress on Wednesday.

The VA would be required to include an appeals form when it notifies veterans by mail they have been denied for benefits, under the bill approved by the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Bill sponsor Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., said it would save the VA from making more than 100,000 separate mailings while saving time for individuals to appeal agency decisions.

“While there is still a lot of work to be done to eliminate the backlog, this is a common-sense approach that will instantly reduce the appeals process for veterans by 60 days, as well as save the VA approximately 50,000 man hours,” Titus said.

The VA has acknowledged a backlog of 570,000 claims that have been pending at least 125 days. Some 250,000 have been awaiting completion for a year or longer, the agency has said.

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