Senator Patrick Petitions Veterans Administration for Expedited Assistance
Seeks immediate attention to massive backlog of claims
AUSTIN -- Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) spoke to the recent Veterans of Foreign Wars state convention and announced that he has asked the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs to address the massive backlog of disability claims at Texas Veterans Benefits Administration Offices.
"A Texas veteran who files a service-related claim today can expect to wait for two-years on average before the VA makes a decision on their claim," said Senator Patrick. "For those needing to submit an adjustment to their claim, the wait is even longer."
Currently, over 110,000 Texas veterans statewide have a claim in the system pending a decision. Of that number, the Houston VA Regional Office has roughly 55,000 pending claims.
"This is unacceptable and our disabled veterans deserve better," stated Patrick. "They dedicated their lives to serve and protect this country. Their bodies were punished for their sacrifice. The best the VA can do is to add the veteran to a list and get back to them in twenty-four months?"
In the letter, Senator Patrick asked the Secretary to consider implementing a "fast track system," that has been recommended by the Texas Veterans Commission. This system would identify and quickly resolve those fully developed claims with fewer issues. With the easier claims resolved, VA staff would be more available to focus on the claims with higher complexity.
"This is a long standing problem that continues to drag on," said Patrick. "It is an injustice to the men and women who deserve our best."
In 2009, Senator Patrick joined Governor Perry in the decision to temporarily provide claims assistance to reduce a backlog of over 39,000 claims.