01.24.08

Burr Calls For Modernized Disability System

Outdated Veterans Disability System Needs Modernization

U.S. Senator Richard Burr today urged his Senate colleagues to consider fundamental reforms to our nation's disability system for wounded warriors during a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. The hearing focused on recommendations from the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission (VDBC) and featured testimony from the VDCB chairman, Lieutenant General James Terry Scott (Retired). The committee also heard from officials from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, The Veterans of Foreign Wars and The American Legion.

"We cannot continue to ignore the need for modernization," Burr said. "We need to create a system for today's veterans and not leave them with a system that was outdated before they were even born."

The VDBC issued its final report to Congress on October 3, 2007. The report contained over 100 recommendations addressing all aspects of veterans benefits, from health care to claims processing. The commission called for a system-wide reform of the benefits system, including removing the disability rating function from the Department of Defense, updating the VA rating schedule, and placing a greater focus on rehabilitation.

The VDBC was established by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2004 to study laws relating to veterans and survivor compensation and assistance and VA's implementation of those laws. The commission's thirteen members were appointed by the President and Congressional leaders.

"I hope we can all work together to find the best way to modernize this system for all veterans." Burr added. "It is a failure of the highest magnitude if we don't provide these heroes, who have sacrificed so much for their country, with the benefits and services they need and deserve to return to full, active, and productive lives."