July 20, 2022
Rep. Aguilar’s Bipartisan Bill to Streamline Veterans’ Benefits Claims Heads to the House Floor
WASHINGTON, DC — This week, Rep. Pete Aguilar’s Wounded Warrior Access Act (H.R. 5916) passed out of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The bipartisan bill will streamline the process for veterans to receive a copy of their claim file for benefits to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), while also protecting veterans from the risks posed by working with unaccredited and unqualified claim consultants.
“Veterans put their lives on the line for our country, and we need to ensure that they have access to the best possible benefits and health care when they return from service,” said Rep. Aguilar. “To ensure they can access those benefits, veterans need an easy way to access their information during the claims process and should not have to jump through hoops to get that information. My bill provides a commonsense solution that updates this antiquated system to make life easier for veterans in the Inland Empire and across the country. I thank the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for passing my bill out of committee and sending it to the House floor for a vote.”
“The Wounded Warrior Access Act will significantly improve the process and create more transparency for veterans who wish to obtain their own VA claims files. Wounded Warrior Project thanks Congressman Pete Aguilar for leading this effort to make personal VA files more accessible and we commend the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee for advancing this legislation. We urge the House of Representatives to pass the Wounded Warrior Access Act as soon as possible,” said Jose Ramos, Wounded Warrior Project Vice President for Government and Community Relations.
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. 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. 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 or printed copy of their C-file.
Rep. Aguilar introduced this bill in November 2021. This bill 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.