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Kirkpatrick Legislation to Help Veteran Claims Backlog

January 14
15:26 2014
Rep Ann Kirkpatrick

Rep Ann Kirkpatrick, District 1, Arizona

After serving in our country’s military, many veterans wait years for their VA benefits to clear the quagmire of paperwork and red tape, but new legislation introduced by US Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick aims to speed up the claims process.

VA CORE is a new bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick to help tackle the massive claims backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill was included as an amendment to the Department of Defense spending reauthorization bill and was signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 26, 2013.

Bill Aims to Reduce Claims Backlog

The VA CORE bill  directs the Pentagon to provide electronic service-treatment records to the Department of Veterans Affairs quickly after a veteran leaves the military. Among the co-sponsors were Arizona Reps. Ron Barber, Kyrsten Sinema, Ed Pastor and Raul Grijalva.

In the most unproductive Congress in recorded history, Kirkpatrick is the only Arizona U.S. representative who had legislation signed into law. The number of bills enacted in the 113th session of Congress is the lowest since 1947.

New Bill Introduced for Rural and Tribal Care

Serving District 1 of Arizona, Rep. Kirkpatrick is a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and is a Ranking Member of its Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. In recent months, she introduced a bill to strengthen mental health care for rural veterans and their families, and a bill to boost construction of veteran nursing homes on tribal land.

Info for Veterans at the District 1 Congressional Office

Kirkpatrick’s bill, the Rural Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, is the companion legislation to Montana Sen. Jon Tester’s bill, S. 1155.

Too many veterans return from the battlefield with unseen wounds like PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury,” said Tester, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “This bill will expand the reach of mental health professionals in rural areas so more veterans get the care they need no matter where they live. I appreciate Congresswoman Kirkpatrick’s commitment to improving veterans’ mental health care and look forward to working with her to pass our bill into law.”

About 6.1 million veterans live in rural communities, according to federal estimates. Arizona’s mostly rural Congressional District One has more than 65,000 veterans.

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