Feds plan to clear up older veteran benefit claims

April 20, 2013 at 2:55 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 20 (UPI) -- The Obama administration said it plans to speed up processing of Department of Veterans Affairs claims dating back to more than a year ago.

The department said Friday it would tackle a backlog of about 250,000 long-running claims and clear them from the books within the next six months.

"While this new approach sounds promising, we will be monitoring it closely to make sure it's good policy rather than just good P.R.," Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a written statement.

The New York Times said the department plans to issue so-called provisional decisions on all claims that have been pending for a year or more. The provisional ruling will provide a green light for payment of benefits immediately.

The ruling becomes permanent after one year.

Veterans can provide additional information to back up their claims, but will have to go through the lengthy formal appeal process if they don't challenge the agency's decision within a year.

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