Our veterans deserve a modern and timely appeals process when their claims have been denied by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Right now, that is not happening.

Stuck in limbo

More than 420,000 veterans are awaiting claims appeals decisions — and 80,000 of those have been ongoing for more than five years. “If nothing is done, 2 million veterans will be awaiting appeals by the year 2027,” says American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt.

“Modernizing VA's archaic appeals process is of the utmost priority,” Schmidt says, ”Over the past year, The American Legion has engaged in discussions with VA leadership, veterans service organizations and private attorneys to improve the claims and appeals process. We are accounting on Congress to responsibly to pass legislation to create a simple and fair appeals process that provides veterans and their families their earned benefits in a timely manner.”

“It's about simple justice. An appeals process that delays justice, also denies it.”

The need for reform

In September, the House of Representatives passed the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016, bipartisan legislation that would reform the VA appeals process and reduce wait time for veterans’ claims.

In September, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., introduced separate legislation in the Senate to reform the appeals process.

Blumenthal, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, has said that passing appeals reform “is not just about money, but it’s also not just about health care. It's about simple justice. An appeals process that delays justice, also denies it.”