INSIDE NOVA, CAMERON DELEAN
Rep. Abigail Spanberger is pressing the Department of Veterans Affairs to address claims processing delays amid an influx of cases related to the Honoring Our PACT Act, which expanded healthcare benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their military service.
The act was signed into law by President Biden in August 2022.
As of Oct. 10, more than 300,000 VA claims were backlogged, meaning they have been pending for over 125 days. That number is expected to continue to increase, with the VA projecting the number to peak at 400,000 next year, largely due to the influx of claims related to the act, according to a news release from Spanberger’s office.
In a letter to VA Secretary Denis McDonough, Spanberger, D-7th, urged the VA to address the delays and clear the growing backlog. Spanberger also requested information about the specific challenges that led to the delays, a plan outlining how the VA will rectify this issue and recommendations as to how Congress can support the VA in awarding veterans the benefits they have earned.
“This landmark legislation is a crucial step in expanding Veterans Affairs health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic substances,” Spanberger wrote.
“Unfortunately, I have heard from veterans across my district who have experienced significant delays in VA claims processing, increasing their difficulty in accessing the vital care they earned through their service,” she added. “The sacrifices made by our veterans demand nothing less than our unwavering commitment to their well-being.”