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Esty, Walz Examine National Work Queues Impact On Claims Processing

Feb 15, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN) and Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Ranking Member Designate Elizabeth Esty released the following statements after the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs conducted an oversight hearing examining how the National Work Queue (NWQ) has impacted VA’s capacity to process veterans’ claims.

“Technology can and should help the VA speed up disability claims of veterans across the country and reduce the backlog,” Esty said. “However, we should make sure to continue to value and draw on the effectiveness and passion of thousands of veteran service organization representatives in their home states. There is no reason for us to lose that personal connection for our vets -- the 'high touch' -- in order to incorporate ‘high tech.’ We can and should value both.”

“Veterans and VA employees continue to struggle with claims processing issues at the Department of Veterans Affairs despite the implementation of NWQ,” Rep. Walz said. “It is our responsibility as members of Congress to provide the necessary oversight of programs like NWQ to ensure that veterans can have their claims processed effectively and in a timely manner. While I am encouraged by today’s testimony as well as the VA’s recent improvements, there is still much work to be done if we are to overcome the significant claims backlog at the VA.”

The Subcommittee Heard From

  •          Mr. Thomas J Murphy, Acting Under Secretary for Benefits at the Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  •          Mr. Willie C. Clark, Sr., Deputy Under Secretary for Field Operations at the Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  •          Mr. Ronald S. Burke, Jr., Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Field Operations for the National Work Queue, Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  •          Mr. Zachary Hearn, Deputy Director, Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division, The American Legion
  •          Mr. Ryan Gallucci, Deputy Director, National Veterans Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars
  •          Ms. Kelsey Yoon, Director, Veterans Benefits, Vietnam Veterans of America