According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, the wait time for veterans to receive benefits has skyrocketed from 116 days in 2009 to 330 days now. In response, US Representative Bill Enyart is sponsoring legislation to try to reduce that wait.
What the bill would do is pay partial, provisional benefits for veterans whose cases aren't handled within 125 days after they are submitted. Currently, that would apply to more than half a million veterans.
"You know this is really a national embarrassment, and we have to meet this head on," Enyart said in a conference call with reporters. "And Congress can and should help restore the trust that veterans have lost in our government."
Enyart, a Democrat, says that's important, but it would also accomplish another goal:
“The VA will view this as a financial penalty," Enyart said. "So they're going to want to process these claims in a more timely manner. it would give the VA one more reason to clean up its act and speed up the process. The real goal of the bill is to give the VA a boot to the posterior.”
Enyart was elected last year in southern Illinois and serves on the House Armed Services Committee.
Yesterday we reported on the VA problems in St. Louis. Currently, there are nearly 20,000 veterans waiting to hear a response from the St. Louis Regional VA Hospital.
Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel