Congress takes another shot at fixing outdated, lengthy veterans appeals process


By Nicole Ogrysko

The Veterans Affairs Department said it would need “billions of dollars in additional appropriations” to work through the 470,000 appeals that are now pending in the Veterans Benefits Administration and Board of Veterans Appeals as of April 1.

“What we need is either an extraordinary amount of resources or we need to change the law,” David McLenachen, director of VBA’s Appeals Management Office, told the House Veterans Affairs Committee May 2. “That’s why we’re here, because it does not make sense to throw more money at a process that’s broken.”

Previous bills to improve the veterans appeals process have failed in Congress, but members of both the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees are taking another stab at the issue. Senate VA Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), as well as House VA Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Ranking Member Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) introduced new legislation Tuesday.

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