COLUMBUS - 

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, 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.


“It is unfortunate and tragic that many of our military heroes who have defended our country are unable to access the treatment they need to live happy, productive lives,” said Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder (R-Medina). “The disability benefits that we provide to these men and women are vital in compensating them for their sacrifice and service. These claims need to be handled in a much more efficient, streamlined manner so that these individuals can get the treatment they need.”


“It’s unacceptable that many of our nation’s veterans have to wait a year or more before they are able to receive treatment,” said Rep. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott). “House Concurrent Resolution 21 is an effort to shine some light on this devastating situation so that the problem can be addressed. The federal government needs to be held accountable for the inefficient processing of these claims and do more to better meet the needs of our service members.”


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 by 56 percent over the past several years.


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

 
 
 
  
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Bill Passes House To Honor Beloved Southern Ohioans

 
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State Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) is pleased to announce the Ohio House’s passage of House Bill 36, legislation that memorializes three important individuals from Southern Ohio.