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Letter: Our Veterans Deserve Better

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) has come under fire for delays with veterans’ benefits and care at their facilities. While I have already called for a criminal investigation into wrongdoing at the VA, I am writing to inform readers of my bill that would enact a common-sense solution to ensure veterans aren’t left waiting for claims.

Currently, New York veterans wait an average of 297 days to receive disability compensation and benefits, a time table that falls far short of the 125-day goal the VA has set for filling these claims. This is unacceptable.

That’s why I introduced the Veterans Backlog Reduction Act. This bill would give provisional benefits to veterans filing for disability if a claim hasn’t been processed within 125 days. The provisional benefit would be based on what a veteran with a similar disability receives or would be calculated based on a 40 percent disability rating. Put simply, this legislation would ensure no veteran filing a claim has to wait more than125 days for the benefits they’ve earned.

To date, my office has recovered more than $7.4 million in back pay and owed benefits to my constituents by cutting through the red tape at the VA. If you, or a veteran you know, needs help with a VA benefits claim, please make my office your first resource.

You can reach my office at 631-777-7391, 516-505-1448 or 718-875-1675. We are eager to help.

Rep. Steve Israel