March 22, 2023

Bipartisan MD House Delegation Meets with VA Sec’y Shinseki

Posted by Congressman Steny Hoyer
Pax IIBalt VA Hospital

 WASHINGTON, DC – The bipartisan Maryland House Delegation met last week with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki for an update on how the VA plans to improve the claims process at the VA’s Baltimore Regional Office, which has the largest backlog and highest rate of errors in the country.

Nationally, the average wait time for a veteran’s claim decision is 273 days and approximately 65 percent of the 903,000 pending claims are older than 125 days. In Maryland, the situation is worse with veterans waiting on average 332 days or 11 months for a claims decision from the Baltimore Regional Office. 84 percent of the nearly 20,000 pending claims are older than 125 days. In addition, the Baltimore Regional Office has an error rate of 26.2 percent, while the national error rate is 13 percent.

The Delegation applauded Secretary Shinseki’s plan to expedite claims that have been backlogged for more than a year, as well as his announcement in February that the Baltimore Regional Office would receive additional training, an influx of senior staff, and a new digital processing system ahead of schedule. However, they urged the VA to develop a comprehensive plan to improve the functionality of the Baltimore Regional Office and retain a qualified workforce to meet the needs of Maryland’s veterans.

Participating in the meeting were Representatives Steny H. Hoyer, Elijah E. Cummings, Chris Van Hollen, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Donna F. Edwards, Andy Harris, and John Delaney.

 “We have an obligation to stand up for the brave men and women who have fought so hard for our nation and ensure they have the care and resources they need to transition to civilian life,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Unfortunately, the large backlog and high rate of errors we are seeing at the Baltimore Regional Office means that we aren’t fulfilling that obligation to Maryland veterans. While the VA is taking positive steps to improve the situation, we have more work to do so that veterans in our state receive their benefits in a timely manner. The entire Maryland delegation is united in our efforts to improve services for veterans and their families and we will continue to work with Secretary Shinseki to do so.”

“It was critical that our Delegation have the opportunity to understand the specific measures the Veterans Administration is taking to ensure that all claims are processed as quickly as possible ,” said Congressman Cummings.  “Though the Maryland Veterans Benefits Administration office is physically located in my district, the work it does touches the lives of Veterans throughout the region and state.  I thank Secretary Shinseki for his time today and am hopeful that we are on our way to providing more efficient and effective service to our Veterans and their loved ones.”

Leave A Comment