After U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki Thursday praised the VA’s Hartford regional office as a top performer in reducing disability claims backlogs, U.S Sen. Richard Blumenthal stood next to him and strongly criticized the entire VA, saying “we owe our veterans better than they are now getting from the VA.”
Shinseki visited the regional office where officials announced a 65 percent drop in Connecticut veterans waiting more than 125 days for disability claims to be processed since January, 2012. The VA defines waits longer than 125 days as backlogged and has a goal of no such waits by July, 2015. Last September, the Hartford VA became one of the first offices in the country to convert to a paperless process designed to reduce the backlog. Shinseki said all 56 regional offices should make the change by the end of this year. “We owe our veterans everything we can do to make them to be as successful in their communities as they were in the military,” Shinseki said at a news conference at the regional office, which is located in Newington.