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Obama proposes increase in VA funding in 2014 budget

Filed by KOSU News in Public Insight Network.
April 13, 2013

President Barack Obama is proposing a a 10 percent funding bump for the Department of Veterans Affairs in the 2014 fiscal year. That’s a budget of $152.7 billion dollars.

We’ve reported extensively on the long wait times for veterans filing disability claims with the VA, and the president’s proposed budget includes close to $300 million to address the backlog.

According to a VA press release, $155 million of that budget has been set aside specifically for “the next generation of the electronic claims processing system Veterans Benefits Management System.” The rollout for that new technology is already underway, but has been slow.

That VBMS money is part of the $2.5 billion dollar budget for the Veterans Benefits Administration, the division of the VA responsible for processing claims.

Reporter Leo Shane of Stars and Stripes has a rundown of other VA spending priorities in the president’s budget:

“Funding for programs specific to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans — including counseling, employment services and other transition programs — will see an increase, up 13.8 percent to $4.1 billion.

“Services for female vets will increase by almost the same percentage, to $422 million. The department has worked in recent years to provide things like women-only examination rooms, obstetric services and sexual assault counseling in response to the growing number of female veterans seeking VA care.

“Prosthetics research and care will grow to almost $2.5 billion under the plan, more than double what the department spent in the field four years ago. Long-term health care services for veterans will see a 10.6 percent increase, totaling more than $7.6 billion.

“Construction and maintenance programs are the fiscal losers, with cuts of almost $760 million. Veterans groups have warned repeatedly that the department needs to better fund those areas to preserve the department’s infrastructure.”

As budget discussions move forward, we’ll keep our eyes on the VA’s goal of reducing the claims backlog. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki has said he wants to see the average wait time below four months by 2015. That’s going to be a hell of a battle, even with increased funding. Of the 800,000 pending claims in the backlog right now, 70 percent have been pending longer than four months.

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2 Responses to “Obama proposes increase in VA funding in 2014 budget”

  1. JimS says:

    Ten years after the Iraq invasion on ginned up intelligence, i.e. lies!

    "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." – Abraham Lincoln

    Iraq war ends with a $4 trillion IOU: 15 December 2011 – Veterans’ health care costs to rise sharply over the next 40 years

    “We are dealing with veterans, not procedures—with their problems, not ours.” —General Omar Bradley, First Administrator of the Veterans Administration

    How does a Country HONOR It's Fallen, by Their Own 'Sacrifice' in Taking Care of the Brothers and Sisters They Served With!!

    No Revenues = Still No Sacrifice = That's Called 'Support' For The Troops = DeJa-Vu all over again

    Neither war nor especially the results of, decades to come added to previous decades and wars of, have been paid for as the abandoned, and now forgotten, continues as those sent want in a drawdown to accomplish at least a very small portion of those main missions sent to accomplish!!

    Military and Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, Administration and it's Cabinet, "Best – Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer – Dec. 30, 2011", and plenty more of similar since Joyce spoke and also will continue, as will the obstruction as the tepubs continue seeking to privatize the Veterans Administration, the peoples responsibility to those that serve them!

    USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71

  2. JimS says:

    Prior too this present Executive and Veterans administrations:

    October 23, 2008 – And now VA investigators are trying to figure out if this one-time survey points to the likelihood that documents have been improperly destroyed for months or even years.
    "Whatever this problem is, it didn't just start in the last two weeks," said Dave Autry, a spokesman for Disabled American Veterans. "It'd be unreasonable to assume that. Who knows what's been destroyed."

    The documents, which didn't have duplicates at the VA, would have been critical in deciding veteran pension and disability claims. As a result, many veterans are asking whether their delayed or denied claims were affected by lost paperwork. read more>>>

    Oct 16, 2008 – VA claims found in piles to be shredded
    October 24, 2008 – House panel will target VA shredding
    February 11, 2009 – Veterans' Claims Found in Shredder Bins
    And more disturbing in relation to even before and through the early years of these two wars and occupations, this:

    Lost to History: Missing War Records Complicate Benefit Claims by Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans
    Nov. 9, 2012 – A strange thing happened when Christopher DeLara filed for disability benefits after his tour in Iraq: The U.S. Army said it had no records showing he had ever been overseas.
    DeLara's case is part of a much larger problem that has plagued the U.S. military since the 1990 Gulf War: a failure to create and maintain the types of field records that have documented American conflicts since the Revolutionary War.

    A joint investigation by ProPublica and The Seattle Times has found that the record keeping breakdown was especially acute in the early years of the Iraq war, when insurgents deployed improvised bombs with devastating effects on U.S. soldiers. The military has also lost or destroyed records from Afghanistan, according to officials and previously undisclosed documents. read more>>>

    And that above is only a tiny portion of what the previous executive administration their congresses, rubber stamping two more wars, and especially the VA's administrations did and didn't do as to our veterans community especially those joining from these two recent long occupations and going back to the Desert Storm military personal.

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