Members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee pressed Undersecretary Allison Hickey for information showing the V.A. has a plan to reduce a horrendous backlog of claims.
Disability claims are up nearly 200% from two years ago and the backlog in processing those claims has doubled. The average claim takes more than a year to process, while the required timeframe is 125 days.
Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy is one of the V.A.'s strongest critics. "I feel the V.A. administration right now doesn't have the leadership to make the changes. When I asked about productivity she claimed it had improved. But I looked at the metrics, and they show it has actually dropped in the last 10 years. She says LA is working better, so why did they have to shut down for training. That's never happened before. And the person in charge has never filled out a disability claim before. They took her from another department. It's unacceptable and I won't stand for it until it's corrected."
Critics say the first thing the V.A. should do to improve productivity is hire more war veterans to process disability claims, because they understand the system and the hardships endured by veterans whose claims still hang in limbo.