Lawmakers press Obama on VA claims backlog

“It is important for you — as Commander in Chief — to publicly acknowledge the problems within the VA and the necessity for reforms and leadership that are capable of alleviating the claims backlog and improving the benefit delivery system," they added.

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VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has vowed to eliminate the claims backlog by 2015 as criticism has grown over the wait times for veterans to receive benefits.

There are currently about 890,000 outstanding claims and 69 percent of them have been waiting beyond the 125-day goal the VA has set. Veterans wait on average 273 days for a claim to be resolved.

The VA announced last week that it would expedite claims that had been pending more than one year by giving them a provisional rating, which could allow veterans to gain benefits quicker.

Lawmakers said it was a step in the right direction but was still not getting at the heart of the problem.

The House members who signed onto the letter to Obama are either retired military veterans or currently in the National Guard or Reserves.

Also on Wednesday, Democrats on the House Veterans Affairs Committee introduced 10 bills aimed at helping the VA address the backlog.