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Bonuses for VA employees in the midst of massive backlog of veterans’ benefit claims?
Posted by Randy | August 30, 2013
Last year, I met with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and sent a letter to discuss the current backlog of claims at the Veterans Benefits Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) efforts to turn back the avalanche of overdue claims plaguing the VA for the last three years.

On May 23rd of this year, I sent a follow-up letter to Secretary Shinseki requesting an update on the severe claims backlog.

This week, I received a response from the Secretary, noting that progress has been made over the last three months in addressing the backlog, reducing it by 87,000 claims, from the peak of 600,000 in March of 2013.  That means that there are still 513,000 veterans’ claims stagnated in red tape.  It is unacceptable that there are still over a half a million of our nation’s heroes waiting for the benefits they’ve earned and rightly deserve. Our servicemembers have made extraordinary sacrifices for this country and, while we can never begin to repay them, we have a duty to do our utmost to serve them once they come home.

While approximately 14,000 veterans’ appeals have been pending for over two years, two-thirds of employees at the VA received bonuses totaling roughly $5.5 million at the end of 2011 for “excellent” or “outstanding” performance. Until the claims backlog is eliminated, it is unacceptable for employees to receive bonuses. 
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  • Thomas G commented on 8/30/2013
    This is a political statement of shameful degree sir. You've been in congress for a decade and done nothing to help resolve this issue but whine about it. The fact is that great progress has been made in reducing the queue and for you to complain about bonuses for excellent performance is simply absurd. Why is it sir that months have passed and the republican leadership refuses to appoint conferees for budget reconciliation? It's just another matter where your failure to act harms our great country. Stay out of this matter sir because you are only going to screw up progress that has been clearly made.
  • Gregg J commented on 8/30/2013
    This country has been in a state of continuous war since FY01 and kept a large ground deployment in the middle east dating back to Desert Shield. It should've been no surprise that a tidal wave of veteran claims was coming. This backlog reflects poorly on both the current administration and previous administrations as well. How about this, no more war until this country takes care of every veteran with a backlogged claim. If the president wants to engage militarily in Syria...pay all veterans their benefits first. As far as bonuses are concerned, VA employees--in addition to all other government employees--should not receive any bonus until the national debt is zero.
  • Cary Philbrick commented on 9/2/2013
    I strongly disagree with your stance of refusing a bonus to VA employees. Your reasoning that veterans claims are backlogged seems to imply that VA hospital employees are not doing their jobs. The very small percentage of VA employees that can have any effect on claims processing should not be used to abuse the very large percentage of employees that always do their best to ensure that our veterans are given the best possible healthcare. Criticizing those employees who do their jobs faithfully would be as unfair as criticizing all congressmen for the failure of the few idiots who reside there.
  • Bill Law commented on 9/12/2013
    Until our government stops borrowing money, no tax payer dollars should be given out for bonuses. By the way, bonuses are usually given to the top down, not the bottom up.
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