At a time when the backlog of veterans’ disability claims remains unacceptable, the GOP shutdown is about to make it worse. According to an article by the Hill:
“Regional offices run by the Department of Veterans Affairs closed Tuesday as furloughs began for 7,000 employees of the agency’s Benefits Administration (VBA).”
“‘All public access to VBA regional offices and facilities will be suspended ... due to a lack of funds,’ Veterans Affairs Department spokeswoman Victoria Dillon said in a statement provided to The Hill.”
“No one would be answering phones at regional VA offices, which veterans call to check on the status of their disability benefits.”
“Consequently, many veterans’ benefits will be delayed. VA’s ability to reduce the claims backlog, Dillon says, is hampered without claims processors who work overtime. Overtime was eliminated when the shutdown began.”
“VA employees tasked with developing software systems to eliminate the disability claims backlog by 2015 have also been sent home. Over the last six months, the VA has reduced the claims backlog by 190,000.”
If only there was a way to end these furloughs and ensure veterans receive their benefits in a timely manner…
Oh wait, there is: House Republicans can allow a vote on the Senate bill to reopen the government for all Americans, including our nation’s heroes.