VA Seeks to Quadruple Funding for Paperless Claims System

April 8, 2013

The Veterans Affairs Department will request a discretionary budget of $63.5 billion in 2014, a four percent increase over the 2013 funding levels President Obama approved last month and $500 million below what the department originally sought for 2013, the White House said in a preliminary release of the VA budget.

The 2014 VA budget request includes $155 million for a paperless Veterans Benefits Management System designed to eliminate the disability claims backlog by 2015, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told a media briefing on Friday.

That proposal is four times higher than VBM’s final 2013 funding level of $38.5 million, which was a 40 percent cut from the $92.5 million VA had originally requested for 2013.

Over the past month veterans groups and the chairman of the House VA Committee have sharply criticized the claims backlog, a growing problem illustrated on Friday with stinging satire by comedian Jon Stewart on the The Daily Show. VA had 885,068 backlogged claims as of April 1, down two percent from 903,286 the week before.

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