"For some time now, I have been a big champion of an innovative program at the William & Mary law school, where W&M’s Puller Veterans Clinic puts law school student volunteers to work compiling the detailed documentation required for the V-A to evaluate a veteran’s disability claim. I have bragged about this William & Mary initiative in conversations with most of my Senate colleagues, and I’ve had face-to-face meetings with U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, where I have pushed him to expand this innovative model to help even more veterans:
- At my request, the V-A has thoroughly
reviewed the William & Mary law school program, and they now have certified
the W&M Puller Clinic as an official "approved partner" in preparing and submitting
V-A disability claims. The Puller Clinic is the very first law school in the
country to earn this special V-A designation, and that should make all
- This means the veterans served by W&M
will have their disability claims processed twice as fast. It also means the
backlogged V-A will receive more complete and accurate claims, prepared at no
additional cost to the taxpayers. Finally, it means these W&M law students
will have a unique opportunity to develop real world training and skills. I call
that a "win-win-win," and I will keep pressing the V-A
to expand the William & Mary Puller Clinic playbook to more law schools
across Virginia and across the nation.
- The non-profit Northern Virginia
Technology Council has partnered with Monster.com to match the military training
and skills of our veterans with current job opportunities at dozens of the
nation’s leading I-T firms.
- These Virginia companies have committed to
step-up in a big way, going the extra mile to recruit, mentor, train and support
our veterans as they transition back to civilian life. I am very proud to be
part of this effort.
- Fixing this unacceptably long backlog has been a primary focus of mine, and
V-A officials tell me they’re on-track to completely transition from an analog,
paper-intensive system to a digital, paperless system by the end of September.
That will considerably shorten the time needed to evaluate claims.
- After more than a year of effort, the V-A says it is on-track to reduce
processing times from 440 days to an average 125 days by the end of September.
Yes, that represents progress – a four-month wait instead of 14 months -- but it
is still too long for veterans to expect to wait for disability services and
benefits from the V-A. You have my commitment to make sure the V-A continues to
look for ways to innovate and automate. We must reduce those wait times even