WASHINGTON (AP) – The House has approved legislation to cut the time it takes for the Department of Veterans Affairs to handle appeals from veterans unhappy with their disability payouts. It’s an effort to reduce a claims backlog without adding billions in government costs.
Currently, veterans could wait five years or more to resolve appeals.
The bill would allow veterans to file “express” appeals if they waive their right to a hearing or the ability to submit new evidence. The VA could test the new program for up to 18 months until the department was able to certify it was ready for a fuller rollout with enough money.
Lawmakers hope the legislation could ultimately reduce wait times to less than a year.
The vote was 418-0. It now goes to the Senate.
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