The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a pair of bills sponsored by New Jersey Rep. Jon Runyan that are designed to benefit veterans by speeding up and simplifying the veterans’ disability claims process.

 

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The Disabled Veterans Access to Medical Exams Improvement Act aims to expedite the claims process by extending the authority of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to enter into contracts with private physicians to conduct veterans’ medical disability evaluations through 2016.

The other Runyan bill is dubbed the Access to Veterans Benefits Improvement Act. The legislation is expected to provide certain local and state government employees access to case tracking information through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

“Recently, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs reported that it had a backlog of more than 400,000 veterans’ benefits claims as the fiscal year ended in September,” said Runyan. “This is simply unacceptable.  Expanding contracting so that more civilian doctors are involved will ultimately help speed up the claims process so that veterans will have faster access to healthcare.”

Both of Runyan’s measures passed the House of Representatives as part of these two larger veterans’ legislative packages. The first bill passed by voice vote and the second passed by a count of 404-1.

“There is no doubt that we have a responsibility to our veterans to ensure that every effort is made to simplify the claims process,” said Runyan. “Key to this effort are the County Veteran Service Officers, whose expertise in claim development helps veterans all across the country.”