WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) hosted a meeting with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey and Julianna Boor, the new Director of the VA’s Oakland Regional Office.
Thompson and his Northern California colleagues discussed the claims backlog at the Oakland Regional Office, and the recent controversies at other VA offices around the country.
Since 2012, Thompson has hosted four separate oversight meetings with Hickey on Capitol Hill, and toured the Oakland Regional Office with her.
“The claims backlog at the Oakland VA office, and the mess we’ve recently witnessed at several other VA offices across our country is unacceptable,” said Thompson. “I believe that Undersecretary Hickey and Director Boor are committed to solving this problem. As a veteran myself, I will not stop working with the VA and my colleagues in Congress until we make sure that all of our nation’s veterans are getting the care and benefits they’ve earned in a timely manner. These oversight meetings are a good way for us to keep a finger on the pulse of the VA’s improvements.”
Currently, new claims by veterans can take almost 300 days to process, delaying access to care and benefits.
California veterans in the 5th Congressional District are serviced by the Oakland Regional Office which, until last year, had one of the longest claims backlog in the country.
In January, Thompson passed legislation that holds the VA accountable for ending the backlog of claims at the Veterans Benefits Administration.
The legislation requires a monthly report from each regional office and the national VA office detailing the current backlog of claims.
Additional reporting is required from offices with backlogs averaging more than 200 days.
Congressman Mike Thompson represents California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.