House Passes Bipartisan Veterans Legislation Cosponsored by Delaney
WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives passed the WINGMAN Act, bipartisan legislation designed to cut through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) bureaucratic backlog. The bill would allow certified advocates in congressional offices who are working on a veteran’s behalf to have read-only access to the status of a pending VA claim and related necessary files.
Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) is a lead cosponsor of the legislation, which was authored by Congressman Ted Yoho (FL-3). The WINGMAN Act has been endorsed by AMVETS and has 170 cosponsors. The WINGMAN Act passed by voice vote.
“We owe so much to our veterans and step one is making sure they receive the benefits they’ve earned and they get the answers they need,” said Congressman Delaney. “Maryland veterans contact us week after week looking for help and the WINGMAN Act cuts out steps in the bureaucracy. This commonsense legislation allows congressional offices to get updates and information on claims right away electronically, rather than having to contact the VA, wait for a response and then deliver that information back to our constituent. That can simply take too long and creates another administrative burden on the VA, which only furthers delays. The faster that veterans can receive information on the status of their applications, the faster they can make changes, update their records and ultimately receive their benefits. I thank Congressman Yoho for his leadership on this issue and hope that the strong support for the WINGMAN Act in the House will lead to its prompt passage in the Senate.”
Currently, as caseworkers in congressional offices work with veterans and their families on a benefits claim they must contact regional VA offices for status updates. Due to the large number of VA claims nationwide, this additional step places an additional burden on the VA and delays the flow of information from the VA back to veterans. The WINGMAN Act simply allows them to directly access the electronic system used by the VA, cutting out the middleman and improving the level of service the caseworker can provide to the veteran and their family.