WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is calling on President Obama to take “direct action and involvement” to resolve a 600,000 claims backlog at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, signing onto a letter with a bipartisan group of 66 Senate colleagues urging the President to “find a solution that ensures no veterans are stuck in the VA backlog.”
Of the 600,000 claims nationwide caught in the backlog, more than 17,000 are from veterans in Utah. In the last four years, the number of claims pending for over a year has grown by over 2,000 percent, despite a 40 percent increase in the VA’s budget.
“It’s a blight on our country that these brave warriors have sacrificed life and limb to serve their country, only to come home and in many cases have to wait a year or even longer to have their claim processed,” Hatch said. “All we’ve heard so far is a lot of empty promises and little action. There’s simply no excuse for veterans to be put in this situation, and the Obama administration needs to step forward and honor its commitment to America’s servicemembers.”
A claim is defined as “backlogged” if it is pending by the VA for more than 125 days. According to the VA, Utah veterans on average must wait 307 days to have their claims processed, while the national average wait time for veterans’ disability claims is between 316 and 327 days.
The full letter Hatch and his colleagues sent to President Obama can be found here.
Submitted by: The Office of Sen. Orrin Hatch