Aguilar Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Streamline Veterans’ Benefits Claims
Rep. Pete Aguilar announced that he has introduced the Wounded Warriors Access Act, a bipartisan bill to streamline the process for veterans to submit a claim for benefits to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). When a veteran files a claim with the VA, a claims file, or a C-file, is created. These C-files contain a veteran’s service records, results of VA exams, additional information submitted by the veteran, and any material the VA deems necessary to decide the claim. The Wounded Warriors Access Act would make it easier for veterans to access their C-Files by allowing them to request access via an online portal and receive a PDF copy of their C-file. Currently, veterans must travel to regional VA locations or mail a form to request a paper or CD copy of their C-file, slowing down the process for them to receive benefits.
“Our veterans put their lives on the line for this country, and we need to make sure they have access to the best possible benefits and health care when they return from service. To ensure they can access those benefits, veterans need easy access to their information during the claims process, and should not have to jump through hoops or travel long distances to get that information. My bill provides a commonsense solution by updating an antiquated system to make life a little easier for veterans in the Inland Empire and throughout the country,” said Aguilar.
“When I filed a claim with the VA, the outdated process made it difficult for me to access my information and track the status of my claim. Congressman Aguilar’s bill would make it easier for veterans like me to access important records and keep track of our claims with the VA,” said Thomas Reid, a Redlands resident and Vietnam Veteran.
“When a veteran submits a claim to the Department of Veterans Affairs, it is perfectly reasonable for them to request a copy of the documents that VA used to reach its decision. The current process that requires them to fax the request or travel to a VA facility to view these records is outdated and inconvenient. The Wounded Warrior Access Act would simplify and modernize the process by allowing veterans to easily and securely request and receive these documents electronically. Wounded Warrior Project strongly supports this bill and we thank Rep. Aguilar for introducing it in conjunction with Veterans Day, 2021,” said Jose Ramos, Wounded Warriors Project Vice President, Government and Community Relations.
The Wounded Warriors Access Act has bipartisan support and includes Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) as an original cosponsor. Rep. Aguilar serves as Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and is a Member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Committee on House Administration.