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.


“I am a disabled Marine Corps veteran and served during the War on Terror,” said State Representative Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton). “The individuals who are coming home from this current war are guys that I served with—guys like me who are having problems, whether they be physical or mental. And their waits are increasingly longer. For the current administration and leaders in Washington to stand by and not do anything to rectify the situation is criminal and negligent. These men and women have fought for our rights to stand up here today and fought for your right to live free. Good men and women are losing hope. They’re coming home and not being able to be the productive citizens they want to be because they can’t get the help that they deserve.”


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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