On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) penned a letter to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough to voice his opinions and share his worries about the delays that former service members are experiencing in the VA. The Florida Senator did not fail to mention that the state of Florida has 1.5 million veterans living within its border and felt the need to address the delays that the service members have been facing.
“I continue to be frustrated when hearing stories from constituents about their experiences with the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA), regarding the lengthy process they face in seeking accurate benefit claims and appeals decisions,” said Rubio in the letter. “As the VA explores solutions to make these processes work better for veterans, I highlight certain concerns that I am hearing from Florida’s veterans to ensure that VBA takes into account the experiences of the men and women who sacrificed so much for our country when making needed process changes.”
In what seems like a ridiculous amount of time for the men and women who signed up to defend their neighbors, the VA has said that some decisions could take “5-7 years” according to the Rubio letter.
Rubio is warning that if the VA is run inefficiently, then his bipartisan bill (alongside Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand – D-NY) the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act would be able to realize its full potential.
“As new legislation expanding veterans’ benefits is implemented, it is essential that VBA identifies current shortfalls and develops a detailed plan for appropriate changes to ensure that veterans receive timely decisions…While the PACT Act is a great step forward and was long overdue, the implementation of this new law will prove challenging if the VBA does not make the appropriate changes to ensure that veterans can receive their decisions in a timely manner. With 3.5 million veterans now eligible for benefits under the PACT Act, the expected influx of claims offers the VBA an important opportunity to identify current challenges, and further implement needed changes.”
Sen. Rubio is running for re-election and will face Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) on November 8th.