Casey pushes VA to fix snarls delaying benefits to vets

Pennsylvania’s senior U.S. senator is urging the federal government to speed up its efforts to correct issues at Veterans Affairs offices that leave military veterans waiting for months to receive disability benefits.

 Sen. Bob Casey says it’s simple — just fix the problem of the VA backlog and do it quickly.

“They shouldn’t have to wait hundreds and hundreds of days to get answers, to get determinations made, to get some certainty about the kind of services they should be providing,” Casey said.

But a report by the VA’s inspector general released earlier this year indicates a daunting, complex problem. There are also internal disagreements over the costs of the solution.

The investigation found the agency has been so far unable to grapple with switching to a paperless office, and will face more challenges as it tries to eliminate the backlog by 2015.

Casey says that won’t do.

“This gets back to one basic word: management,” he said. “Managing a system, managing it so that veterans and their families get answered in a reasonable amount of time.”

An investigation last year of Pittsburgh’s VA office discovered other problems, namely inaccurately processed disability claims.

The agency also released a report on its Philadelphia office, finding inaccurate processing is putting the agency at risk of overpaying veterans’ financial benefits.

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