05/24/13 Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) Wednesday met with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki along with other members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies to discuss the current backlog of disability claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“It is unconscionable that our brave men and women who answered the call of duty and served our country are left waiting for nearly two years for a decision on their disability claims,” said Coats. “America’s veterans deserve better than this. There must be greater collaboration between the Department of Defense and the VA so claims can be streamlined and processed in a more effective, efficient and timely manner.”
According to the VA, veterans wait an average of over 270 days for claims to be processed. In Indianapolis, the average wait time is 600 days. Last month, as part of a subcommittee hearing on the Fiscal Year 2014 budget, the administration said it is setting a target goal to “process all claims within 125 days with 98 percent accuracy in 2015.” Following that hearing, Coats submitted questions to Secretary Shinseki asking for more information on specific steps the department is taking to reach that goal and plan for the additional troops that will enter the system as we draw down from Afghanistan. Coats has not received an official response from the department and continues to demand answers