WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, heard testimony on the state of VA’s system for disability compensation. Witnesses from VA, veterans service organizations and the larger disability policy community urged cautious movement toward fixing what many acknowledge is a broken system.
Senator Akaka stated: “To bring the right changes to a process this complicated and important, we must be deliberative, focused, and open to input from all who are affected. At the same time, we cannot be paralyzed by complexity; the current system is already outdated, and it will get worse until we act.”
Senator Tester stated: “No doubt about it – we need to measure twice and cut once, not the other way around. I hope that among the experts in the room making decisions on ratings are the fighting men and women who are coming back. I would bring them in early in the process, not after the fact.” Later in the hearing, under further questioning from Tester, VA officials pledged that veterans would be involved early in the process of any revisions to the disability compensation process. Today’s hearing is the latest in a series on veterans’ disability compensation. Witnesses included representatives from VA, Economic Systems Inc,VA’s Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Easter Seals. Records of earlier hearings are available at http://veterans.senate.gov, and the full written opening statements and written testimony are available here.
September 17, 2009