WASHINGTON D.C. – A bipartisan amendment co-authored by U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) that provides the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with additional resources to address the claims backlog unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives this past week.
Thompson’s amendment redirects an additional $10 million to pay for programs like the Veterans Claims Intake Program, the centralized mail initiative, and staff overtime.
“No one who has served our country in uniform should have to wait, in some cases more than a year, for the benefits they’ve earned because the VA is backlogged,” said Thompson. “This amendment will help make sure the VA has the recourses they need to get our veterans their benefits in a timely manner.”
Currently, new claims by veterans can take almost 300 days to process, delaying access to care and benefits.
Many California veterans in the Fifth Congressional District are serviced by the Oakland Regional Office which has average backlog of 385 days.
The Oakland Regional Office’s claims backlog is one of the longest claims in the country.
The funding provided in the amendment co-authored by Thompson provides additional resources to address the claims backlog.
California Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), and Jeff Denham (R-CA) also co-authored the amendment.
The amendment passed the House as part of H.R. 4486, the 2015 Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act. H.R. 4486 now goes to the Senate for approval.