Ben­e­fits De­liv­ery Act Seeks To Cut Red Tape

Escalon Times - - FRONT PAGE -

U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jeff Den­ham (R-Tur­lock) has re-in­tro­duced the Quicker Veter­ans Ben­e­fits De­liv­ery Act of 2017, H.R. 1725, a bill that cuts through red tape within the De­part­ment of Veter­ans Af­fairs (VA) and seeks to re­duce the ben­e­fit-claims back­log. The leg­is­la­tion was in­tro­duced with fel­low co-chair­man of the Con­gres­sional Veter­ans Jobs Cau­cus Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) and U.S. Se­na­tor Al Franken (D-MN).

“Th­ese men and women put their lives on the line for our coun­try and it’s a dis­grace the VA is putting those same lives at risk by re­fus­ing to cut through red tape and bu­reau­cratic back­logs,” said Rep. Den­ham. “This bill will en­sure our na­tion’s he­roes, es­pe­cially those here in the Val­ley where ac­ces­si­bil­ity to VA fa­cil­i­ties is limited, will get timely ac­cess to the care that they were promised.”

Cur­rently, there are thou­sands of veter­ans ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ben­e­fits back­logs, which is clas­si­fied as 125 days or more of wait­ing for a claim to be pro­cessed by the VA. The Quicker Veter­ans Ben­e­fits De­liv­ery Act of 2017 amends a cur­rent re­quire­ment stip­u­lat­ing that ini­tial phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions of those seek­ing to file claims must

be con­ducted by the VA by al­low­ing veter­ans to see a local doc­tor for the exam, which will ease the ben­e­fits process for veter­ans in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, ex­pe­dite di­ag­noses of dis­abil­i­ties and re­duce wait times and back­log. The bill also re­quires the VA to give two re­ports – one 180 days af­ter pas­sage and an an­nual ac­count – that will pro­vide up­dates on the bill’s im­ple­men­ta­tion as well as more in­for­ma­tion about VA de­nial of claims that used ev­i­dence by local doc­tors.

Rep. Den­ham, Rep. Walz and Sen. Franken have pre­vi­ously in­tro­duced the Quicker Veter­ans Ben­e­fits De­liv­ery Act in the 114th and 113th Con­gresses.

Con­gress­man Jeff Den­ham rep­re­sents Cal­i­for­nia’s 10th con­gres­sional district, which in­cludes Stanis­laus County and a por­tion of San Joaquin County. He is the chair­man of the House Trans­porta­tion and In­fra­struc­ture Sub­com­mit­tee on Rail­roads, Pipe­lines and Haz­ardous Ma­te­ri­als and also serves on the House Com­mit­tees on Agri­cul­ture and Nat­u­ral Re­sources.

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