Representative TJ Cox (D-CA-21) and Representative Chip Roy (R-TX-21) introduced the Ensuring Veterans Access Act to Ensure Transparency in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Last week, the representatives introduced the Ensuring Veterans Access Act, to improve transparency for veterans attempting to access their claims file (C-File).
A C-File is created when a veteran submits a claim for benefits to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). A veteran may want to view their C-File to ensure all the information it contains is accurate before the VA makes a decision.
Currently, the process for a veteran to view their C-File is incredibly inconvenient, as it requires veterans to either travel to their regional office, submit a form via mail or fax, or submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
To create a more accessible process, Rep. Cox introduced the Ensuring Veterans Access Act to request that the VA offers an online option for veterans to request their C-File. Online requests would be more convenient for veterans and cut down on processing time. Having knowledge of what information is available in their C-File gives veterans control over their claims. Veterans will be able to determine if the VA has all the necessary and relevant information needed to adequately process their claim. As a result, there will be fewer appeals filed due to incomplete medical information.
"It's long past time that the claims process at the VA was modernized, said Rep. Cox. "Veterans should be able to access their claims file in the comfort of their own homes. They already access their benefits, file taxes, and pay bills through the internet. We owe it to our veterans to make claims processing through the VA as easy as possible."
"I am proud to join forces with my friend and colleague Rep. Cox to support our veterans. Veterans should not have to deal with an antiquated and inconvenient process to view their C-File. In the age of the 21st century, veterans should be able to access their files online. Offering an online option for veterans to view their C-File will cut bureaucracy and streamline the benefit claims process for veterans," said Rep. Roy.
"I support the Ensuring Access for Veterans Act because I would like to have access to my own C-file on my terms," said Danny Rueda, Post Commander for VFW Post 6742 in Wasco, CA. "This act would be particularly helpful for me because I am currently in the process of receiving my C-File from the VA; the act would save me valuable time that I could be using to support the veterans here in Wasco."
Rep. Cox also secured the addition of three amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act passed by the house last month that will improve surviving family member's rights, ensure better transparency within the VA, and secure healthcare for service members studying to get their medical degrees.