Burr slams VA over lapse in disability compensation
February 8th, 2014
01:07 PM ET
10 months ago

Burr slams VA over lapse in disability compensation

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, hammered the Department of Veterans Affairs for keeping soldiers waiting for their disability checks.

In Saturday's Republican weekly address, the ranking Republican on the Senate Veteran's Affairs Committee scolded the VA for failing to deliver on its promise to address the backlog of disability claims. Burr called the department's inaction a "national embarrassment."


"We are in bad shape," he said, citing the nearly 700,000 military families still waiting on a response to claims or appeals.

"As the nation’s military stands down from its war footing, veterans should not have to wage another battle here at home, this time against government bureaucracy," he said.

Burr was incredulous, lampooning the VA for acting only after "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart did a piece on the delays in 2013. He also took a dig at President Barack Obama's administration and Secretary Eric Shinseki for not making a big enough dent in the claims pile-up.

"Jon Stewart finally elevated the problem to the President's desk and spurred his VA secretary into action," Burr said, adding that only "incremental progress" has been made on the issue since it came under the national spotlight.

On average, veterans wait 169 days for a response to their claims. If a former service member appeals a decision on their claim, it takes an average of 1,598 days - more than four years - for their claims to work its way through the process, according to VA 2012 statistics.*

"These delays have real life implications for veterans, especially for those at risk of lapsing back into isolation or a downward spiral that can be difficult to stop," Burr said.

Burr said the country needs to look beyond the White House and the executive branch for solutions to the problem, placing the onus on his colleagues in the Senate and the House to make sure the nation's veterans get the help they need.

"The answer lies with Congress’ responsibility to ensure that VA programs are operating in the way they were intended," he said, "and meeting the needs of the veterans, not the D.C. bureaucrats."

*An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the average wait time for a response to a claim is 1,598 days.


Filed under: GOP weekly address • Richard Burr • Veterans • Veterans Affairs
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    Any attempt to alleviate the problem will be lost in the house, unless it's about repealing women's reproductive rights or ending the ACA.

    February 8, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    Did the republican government shutdown help?

    February 8, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    Another lawless and arrogant republican, all talk and no action.

    February 8, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. Mr. Balls

    The two-faced GOP should have thought about the consequences before going to war.

    February 8, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Burr the GOP teaparty loser needs to shut his mouth. Besides representing the garbage and sewage of America , the GOP what have you done but have a FAILED attempt to impeach president Clinton?????the braindead GOP strategy is to run AGAINEST bill Clinton, not Hillary, a losing stratagey with the GOP dufus and quack bland Paul on board, what a joke GOP party!!!!

    February 8, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    While you are slamming, slam your own party for being the reason there's no benefits for veterans. People like you make th eworld a bad place to live in, because you always see th efaults in others, but none of your own. GTH.

    February 8, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Burr said the country needs to look beyond the White House and the executive branch for solutions to the problem, placing the onus on his colleagues in the Senate and the House to make sure the nation's veterans get the help they need.

    "The answer lies with Congress’ responsibility to ensure that VA programs are operating in the way they were intended," he said, "and meeting the needs of the veterans, not the D.C. bureaucrats."

    =========

    Vetrans deserve better !

    And after two wars that lasted over ten years , it's a mess .

    Next time some bureaucrats like Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz lead this country into ten year conflicts , maybe the American people should think of the cost in lives and money .

    February 8, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. Gurgyl

    --what can you do when GOP can not pass budget, cut budget even for paying unemployed, elderly, VA benefits? GOP main idea is only send money on Wars–GOP does not care people at home. GOP is so shameful to act reckless.
    Now you are telling–to rub crocodile tears? Tell republican congress to increase funding at home–including INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS. Tell you the truth, none of these republican idiots are worth your dime. Remove all.

    February 8, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. wendel

    they should start by slamming themselves. Government shut downs and a congress that is paralyzed . Really this bunch of idiots has more balls then brains. Vote these creeps out.

    February 8, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. America Jones

    This guys all talk the talk because they want to get re-elected.
    Not one senator, congressman or even President has done anything to get the 700,000 plus disabled American Veterans the compensation and medical care the need and deserve! None of these politicians are concerned that the VA is forcing our wounded warriors to BEG FOR HELP, while they mock them with "DENY, DENY, UNTIL YOU DIE!"

    February 8, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  11. America Jones

    ALL Senators, Congressmen, VA leaders Shinseki, Allison, and the like need to be thrown out of Washington. They should be ashamed of how they are treating our American Heroes! They are stealing the Veterans' money, living lavish lifestyles with mansions and everything our tax money can buy them. The veterans are suffering and dying BEGGING the VA for HELP!

    February 8, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. GOP = Greed Over People

    And bashing the VA staff on an international forum, is supposed to motivate said staff, to help correct the backup problem, how, exactly?

    Expect the current 4 year back up to stretch to 5, loud mouth!

    February 8, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. air medal mike

    That's clearly a politically motivated bias. I recently got my settlement because of the current push to speed things up. This chap isn't telling the whole story.

    February 8, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  14. 1Joyce

    Most of you don't really want to respond to the problem mentioned in this article. Just another chance to slam the Republicans. Would it have been OK with you if a Democrat had slammed the VA over this delay? Would it be OK then to try to figure out how to fix it? These soldiers need help – and it doesn't matter which party gets the ball rolling.

    February 8, 2014 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  15. Kinard

    What really makes no sense, no sense at all is the fact that many of the veterans today and of wars past are dyed in the wool republican voters. They actually go to war, risk life and limb, come home after the fighting is over, and risk having their benefits denied because some republican wants to make a political ideology a reality. Shame on the politics that benefit from others hardship. But also shame on the people believing in one political party or another so much, that they forget about their needs and their families needs for the sake of a party line. WAKE-UP PEOPLE.

    February 8, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  16. rs

    Of course what the senator fails to mention is that he and his party could fix this. Do they? No.

    February 8, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. S. B. Stein

    If there was more funding for people to do the job (therapists and people to look into the claims among others) and no government shut down which stopped any progress, it would be less of a problem.

    February 8, 2014 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  18. Allen kidwell

    An where was he while the Ryan Budget cut pensions of Retired & Disabled Veterans. The pensions of Congress Members where not touched even though they are the highest paid pensions.

    February 9, 2014 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  19. Marie MD

    Excuse me, but didn't the teaklans/repugs vote against veteran benefits and actually lowered them?
    The right only cares about your sons/daughters when they send them to war. Once they come back they are on their own pretending that they care.
    Example, shutting down the government and then pretending they were there for nothing more than a photo shoot!

    February 9, 2014 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  20. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Another Guns Over People tea potty wingnut begging for government money. They hate government not government money.

    February 9, 2014 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  21. Thomas

    @1Joyce
    Most of you don't really want to respond to the problem mentioned in this article. Just another chance to slam the Republicans. Would it have been OK with you if a Democrat had slammed the VA over this delay? Would it be OK then to try to figure out how to fix it? These soldiers need help – and it doesn't matter which party gets the ball rolling.

    =====

    Do you remember when Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz chastised then U.S. Army General Eric K. Shinseki in regards to the amount of troops and supplies the General recommended pre gulf war invasion ?

    The Same Neocon republicans who control the Congress now do not want to provide the funding to the VA . Secretary of Veterans Affairs Shinseki has been asking for increased funding and been denied by the Republican controlled Congress.

    February 9, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  22. Pete

    Where was Burr when his collegues namely McCain stood up years ago denouncing the VAs Tricare expansion for vets..Republicans turned it down and that's from republicans supposid war hero..Yah right more like traitor if you really read between the lines, right Saigon Songbird!!

    February 9, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. America Jones

    I Iove GOP's comment about bashing the VA employees in the media. What's the matter, does the truth hurt, you VA Scum!
    While you were at one of your VA CONFERENCES enjoying that 5-Star Hotel, expensive food and drinks, night clubs,karoke bars, strippers,hookers,spas,casinos and more, OUR WOUNDED WARRIORS are enduring pain and suffering waiting for the compensation and medical care they need. How do you people live with yourselves? How can you take the billions of taxpayers' dollars that is supposed to take care of our veteran soldiers.

    February 9, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |