House Passes VA Accountability Legislation
Today the House of Representatives passed legislation with the support of Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) to hold employees at the VA accountable for poor performance and misconduct while also implementing important reforms to improve the disability appeals process. The VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act (H.R. 5620) continues efforts to improve the level of service and the quality of care that our veterans receive at VA facilities.
“One of the greatest responsibilities this country has is making sure our veterans are cared for in their retirement,” said Congressman Posey. “Clearly some VA facilities are still failing to provide the quality care and customer service that our veterans deserve. We must do all that we can to improve the VA experience for all veterans.”
Specifically, the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act grants the Secretary of Veterans Affairs the authority to remove or demote a VA employee due to poor performance or misconduct. Furthermore, it will allow the Secretary to recoup bonuses from a VA employee or recoup expenses of an employee who has committed an act of fraud, waste, or malfeasance.
H.R. 5620 also adds critical reforms to the disability benefits appeals process by allowing veterans to choose the best option for their appeal. Under the legislation veterans can select a faster process by waiving a hearing and limiting the introduction of new evidence, however, veterans who wish to have a hearing or introduce more evidence may still do so. Additionally veterans would have the option of having their appeals decided in the regional office, or appeal directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Currently, the appeals process can take up to three to five years, which is unacceptable.