House Passes the Veteran's Access, Choice and Accountability Act
Congressman Sarbanes strongly supports legislation to improve services at the Department of Veterans Affairs
WASHINGTON – Today, in an overwhelming bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives passed legislation to address the unacceptable wait times, allegations of wrongdoing and other serious problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“Our nation’s veterans have made every sacrifice to defend America. Although we can never repay the debt we owe these brave men and women, we must do whatever is necessary to meet our commitments to them,” said Congressman John Sarbanes. “Unacceptable wait times for medical care and other serious problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs broke the commitments we made to those who have served. When this measure becomes law, the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs will have additional authority and resources and I urge him to move quickly to improve services.”
The Veterans’ Access, Choice and Accountability would: allow veterans who experience extensive wait times for medical care to go outside of the VA network for care; provide additional resources to hire more VA physicians and other medical staff; reform VA procedures and personnel policy to ensure accountability; and improve educational benefits for veterans under the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. For additional information, visit the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs website athttp://veterans.house.gov/.
Congressman Sarbanes has been a leader on efforts to improve and streamline benefits for veterans. In 2007, a veteran-constituent contacted Congressman Sarbanes for help with his application for Social Security benefits. This veteran had already received a 100 percent disability rating from the VA, but had been waiting for years to be approved for disability benefits at the SSA, which required a completely separate application process.
Congressman Sarbanes helped the constituent get the benefits he had earned and introduced the BRAVE Act to streamline the two disability rating processes. Working directly with the Social Security Administration, Congressman Sarbanes helped enact new administrative protocols that fast-tracked disabled veteran claims, making it easier for disabled veterans to access Social Security benefits. These changes took effect in March 2014.