Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee Advances Filner Legislation on Claims Processing and Appeals Rights for Veterans

May 5, 2011

Washington, D.C.On May 5, 2011, the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs voted to approve legislation to improve the benefits claims processing system and the system for filing appeals for our nation’s veterans and survivors and to establish an expert judicial review commission to examine the appellate processes pertaining to claims filed by veterans with VA.  This bill, H.R. 1484 was introduced by top Committee Democrat Bob Filner (D-CA) on April 12, 2011.

Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Ranking Democratic Member Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs stated:  “The Veterans Appeals Improvement Act of 2011 was developed as a result of the vigorous oversight, hearings and meetings conducted by this Subcommittee and expert input from our veterans, and attempts to deal with many of the systemic and vexing issues revolving around the processing of veterans claims and appeals.   I know that veterans are anxious to see this provision enacted, as is the Department of Veterans Affairs.”   

The bills must be approved by the Full House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs before being considered by the House of Representatives.

The Subcommittee also passed H.R. 1407 which would ensure enactment of the disability Compensation Cost of Living Adjustment and H.R. 1627, a measure to provide for certain requirements for the placement of monuments in Arlington National Cemetery, and for other purposes. 

Ranking Democratic Member Bob Filner (D-CA) called the bill’s creation of a Judicial Review Commission “a win for the tens of thousands of veterans whose appeals languish in what has been called a ‘hamster wheel’ because of the multiple remands between the VA, the Appeals Management Center, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims that occur before finality.  This process can take upwards of five years.  The current appeals system is more of an injustice to our veterans than giving them the due process they deserve and that Congress envisioned.”