Schumer announces plan to get veteran benefits moving

Nov 7, 2013

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants to integrate the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs health records to reduce benefit backlogs and save money.

Schumer is proposing a two-part plan, the first aimed at creating a compatible health record system between the two departments.

"My plan would require the DoD and VA to create interoperable electronic records, so there's a seamless transition," Schumer said. "All you need do, when one of our military people is discharged is push a button and it will go right over to the VA records. That makes eminent sense, can't happen now."

Integrating the records would also reduce the number of duplicate tests and other hassles Schumer says veterans face. The second portion of Schumer's proposal would require the VA to hire and train more claims processors to eliminate backlogs and shorten waiting times.

According to Schumer, veterans in New York currently wait about 470 days on average before receiving benefit checks. He also said there are more than 15,000 backlogged claims in upstate New York alone.