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Vets’ legislation would speed up claims backlog

WHITE PLAINS – Over 320,000 veterans’ claims are backlogged by the VA and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D, NY17)  said while in White Plains on Monday that number would be sharply reduced if the Senate approves a bill passed in the House last week.

The $158 billion legislation would take steps to reduce the veterans’ claims backlog, enhance primary care for women veterans, bolster veteran job transition and placement programs, and increase funding for the VA health care system.

“The VA claims backlog is absolutely unacceptable,” said Lowey. While the claims backlog has dropped from a peak of over 611,000 in March 2013, it is down to 320,000.

“This is still unacceptably high,” Lowey said. “We can and must do better.”

The bill would include $3.9 billion, an increase of $200,000; $56 billion for VA medical care in 2015, an increase of $1.4 billion over this year; $403 million to enhance primary care for women veterans; and an almost $40 million increase over 2014 for Veterans Benefits Administration general operating expenses.