State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Casey urges faster implementation of VA reforms

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Apr 11, 2013 8:43 PM
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Democratic U.S. Sen. Casey is urging the federal government to speed up its efforts to correct issues at Department of Veterans Affairs offices that leave military veterans waiting for months to receive disability benefits.

"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," said Casey. "It's real simple - they need to fix this problem and do it quickly."

But a report by the VA's Inspector General released earlier this year indicates a daunting, complex problem, with internal disagreements over the costs of the solution, to boot.

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.

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

An investigation done last year on Pittsburgh's VA office discovered other problems, namely inaccurately processed disability claims. This week, the agency 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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