Bush seeks to improve claims processing for veterans

klunney@govexec.com

Veterans would get more assistance in processing their benefits claims under a plan to restore a program run by the Veterans Affairs Department announced by Texas governor and GOP presidential nominee George W. Bush Monday.

The "Duty to Assist" program, already in place at the Veterans Affairs Department (VA), requires the agency to assist veterans in gathering service records, medical records, and other documents necessary to file a complete benefits claim. Bush announced his plan to restore the program while speaking at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) national convention Monday.

Bush said he wants to reinstate the VA's duty to assist veterans by informing veterans of the records needed to process their claims, letting veterans know if the agency cannot find pertinent information, and giving the veteran the opportunity to submit personal evidence for information the VA cannot obtain.

The House passed legislation similar to Bush's proposal in July. The Veterans Claims Assistance Act of 2000 (H.R. 4864), introduced by Rep. Bob Stump, R-Ariz., seeks to reaffirm the agency's duty to assist claimants in obtaining their benefits.

The bill directs VA to inform veterans of the information necessary to complete their claims, inform claimants when important medical or military service information is missing, provide medical examinations for disabled veterans who cannot afford medical care, and provide any other appropriate and necessary assistance to veterans.

The Senate's version of the bill, S. 1810, was introduced in October 1999 by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and is currently in committee.

A spokesman for VA said the legislation seeks to formalize and reaffirm the current process. "VA has always assisted veterans in processing their claims," he said.

During his address to the VFW, Bush also discussed his plan to put $310 million into a federal program responsible for repairing and building public schools on or near military bases. The "Impact Aid" Construction Program is administered by the Education Department.

"This funding means that thousands of students who are dependents of military personnel and attend public schools located near or on military facilities around the country will learn in better school environments," said Bush.

Vice President Al Gore has criticized Bush for having no overall comprehensive education plan.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.