WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed Representatives Elaine Luria (VA-02) and Andy Barr’s (KY-06) bipartisan initiative to bring transparency and fairness to the disability benefits process within the Department of Veterans Affairs. Their bill, H.R. 7795, was incorporated into the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act as part of a larger reform package and passed the House unanimously.
“As a veteran myself and Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee, I was proud to partner with Congressman Barr to ensure our veterans have access to the resources they need to receive the benefits they’ve earned,” said Congresswoman Luria. “This legislation is a positive step toward taking the burden off the veteran when it comes to the disability benefits process. No veteran should have their benefits delayed due to a lack of access to an administrative form or because they were not adequately notified of a bureaucratic change.”
The Veterans Benefits Fairness and Transparency Act (H.R. 7795) was incorporated as Section 2006 of the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act (H.R. 7105), which Congresswoman Luria also cosponsored. This section would protect veterans applying for VA disability benefits by requiring the VA to maintain availability of disability benefits questionnaires (DBQs) on the VA website. DBQs are the forms medical providers and others assisting veterans use to submit evidence supporting disability claims. This is an important fix because the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) removed the DBQ forms from their website and closed its offices to in-person meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislative package containing this fix passed the House today and includes pandemic assistance, additional benefits reform, and housing assistance for veterans.