VA Accused of Making Veterans Benefits Appeals Harder

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Former U.S. Army General Eric Shinseki probably knows something about Trojan horses from his military history. Shinseki, now the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, has been accused by critics of sending a Trojan bill to Congress that does more than reform the VA’s benefit claims process.

The Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2010 is supposed to streamline claims processing and eliminate the constant backlog of paperwork stifling the VA, according to Shinseki. But the bill also contains “anti-veteran and anti-lawyer measures under the guise of helping speed the veterans disability claim process,” says former law school professor Thomas Reed.
Reed and others oppose a provision that eliminates the requirement of veterans law judges to explain their decisions in writing after hearing appeals from claimants. Shinseki’s office argues that by relieving judges of this writing requirement, the system will move along faster. Opponents counter that the lack of written explanations will make it harder for veterans to appeal a judge’s ruling.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
A National Shame: The VA Plays a Shell Game with Veterans Benefits (by Jason Perry, Physical Evaluation Board Forum)
Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2010 (Secretary of Veterans Affairs) (pdf)


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