sipa 14600448 3 New Years resolutions for Dept of Veterans Affairs   yes, only 3

The Times Square crystal ball is tested one last time before New Year’s Eve celebration atop One Times Square in New York, NY. The ball is illuminated with 32,256 LED lights and is made up of 2,688 Waterford crystal. (Photo by Anthony Behar)

By Jonathan Kaupanger

New Year’s resolutions, in my opinion, are really, really silly. If I need to lose weight, and I do, why not start today instead of waiting until Jan.1? But since we do these at this time of year, here’s my thoughts for New Year’s resolutions for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  1. Get those claims and appeals sorted!  The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) completes about one million disability claims each year, and about 12 percent of those are appealed. Currently there are 334,039 pending claims and 76,606 backlogged claims. VBA is expected to complete 1.4 million of them next year, so that’s a great start.
  2. Enough with the animal testing already.I wrote about this back in October, and my opinion hasn’t changed. It’s the 21st Century, stop the totally unnecessary animal testing. And I’m adding a 2.5 to my list of resolutions… the VA still isn’t following the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act in regards to this subject. It’s the law people, get your act together.
  3. Stop saying you’re not privatizing.  The secretary has recently said that the VA spends between $200 million to $400 million on appointments made through the Choice Program. Already this year, Congress has pushed about $5 billion dollars into the program and it’s looking like they’ll add another $3 billion to it early next year. Hopefully there’s money to fix what needs to be fixed within the VA because veterans fought for the United States of America, not for the Koch brothers.

Connect: @JonathanVets1 | Jonathan@ConnectingVets.com

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