In an effort to help military veterans gain access to critical treatment, the Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Concurrent Resolution 21, which urges President Barack Obama, the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Congress to take prompt action to reduce the processing time for veterans’ disability claims.

Over the past year, the average wait time for a decision regarding a medical claim has increased from two months to more than 260 days. As of April of 2013, there were more than 850,000 claims awaiting a decision. Additionally, from January 2009 to December 2012, the number of veterans waiting more than a year for their disability claims increased by 2,000 percent.

"Our military personnel have made personal sacrifices for all of us to have our freedoms," said Rep. Anielski. "I support the appropriate streamlining and the efficiency of processing veterans' claims."

The United States Government Accountability Office reports that between fiscal years 2009 and 2012, the average length of time for the Department of Veterans Affairs to complete a disability claim increased from 161 days to 260 days, and that the number of backlogged claims—which have been awaiting a decision for more than 125 days—has more than tripled since September 2009. The office also reports that appeals processing at the department’s regional offices has slowed down by 56 percent, over the past several years.

House Concurrent Resolution 21 passed from the House with unanimous support.

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