President Signs Cunningham/Katko Bill Establishing Virtual VA Claims Hearings
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has signed into law bipartisan legislation that enables veterans to virtually attend Department of Veteran Affairs claims hearings from home.
The legislation was introduced by Reps. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C, and John Katko, R-N.Y. in October.
Prior to the bill becoming law, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, which is based in Washington, D.C., only conducted tele-hearings from certain VA locations, meaning veterans had to travel sometimes great distances to testify in support of their claims for benefits and other services.
Under the new law, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals is required to allow veterans with pending appeals to appear remotely from their personal computers.
Cunningham said under the old system, veterans in his Lowcountry district in South Carolina either had to drive to the state capitol in Columbia or to Savannah, Georgia, treks, depending on where they lived in the district, that could be as far as 113 miles.
Likewise Katko said the cumbersome policy required veterans in his Central New York district to travel to the nearest regional office in Buffalo or Albany, a distance of up to 150 miles in each case.
“This adds a time-consuming commute to an already stressful process for veterans and their families,” he said. “By modernizing this process and allowing remote access to hearings before the Board, the VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act will reduce the burden for veterans and their families.”
“[This] bill is not only critical for disabled veterans who have mobility issues, but is now especially important for every veteran as we become more reliant on virtual interaction amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cunningham, who is a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Now, veterans will have the option to teleconference into these hearings from the comfort of their own homes using their personal computers.”
“At a time in which veterans across the country are relying on tele-hearings to receive decisions on VA disability benefits and other services, I am proud that the president has signed the bipartisan VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act into law,” Katko said.
In The News
As the U.S. struggles to fight off a lingering coronavirus pandemic, the full impact of the crisis on the lives of Americans is just starting to come into view. But for the veteran community -- as for many other groups -- the crisis has already taken... Read More
WASHINGTON - America's veteran population is changing, with its overall size declining, the number of women in its ranks on the rise, and a generation of Post 9-11 vets who are far more likely to suffer from a service-connected disability than their predecessors. Those are primary... Read More
Congressional leaders who oversee the budget for the Veterans Administration are making a Memorial Day push for the removal of gravestones containing swastikas and praise for Adolf Hitler from veterans’ cemeteries. Outrage over the symbols representing Nazism is bipartisan. The push for action comes from U.S.... Read More
After an effort to add the names of 74 sailors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial hit a roadblock in the Senate, supporters of inscribing the names of the men who died aboard the USS Frank E. Evans are continuing to press for their inclusion. In a... Read More
WASHINGTON - At a time when experts instruct at-risk persons to avoid large crowds and to social distance to protect their health, the United States’ electoral process is getting more attention than ever. Senator Jon Tester, D-Mont., Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Representative Jason Crow, D-Colo.,... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate’s top Democrat on Sunday called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to explain why it allowed the use of an unproven drug on veterans for the coronavirus, saying patients may have been put at unnecessary risk. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said the... Read More