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Witness Testimony of Mr. James Young, President, National Association of County Veterans’ Service Officers

That the full House Veterans Affairs Committee hold hearings on a proposed bill to grant Governmental Veterans Service Officers limited access to Department of Veterans Affairs data bases.

That the House Veterans Affairs Committee enact legislation to grant Governmental Veterans Service Officers limited access to Department of Veterans Affairs data bases.

This is a no cost issue for congress.  The National Association of County Veterans Service Officers is an organization made up of local government employees.  Local government employees that believe we can help the Department of Veterans Affairs reduce the number of backlogged benefits claims that veterans are currently waiting to have adjudicated by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Our members work in local government offices, an “arm of government” if you will, in 37 States and currently are comprised of 2,400 full time employees in 700 communities. We are not like the Veterans Service Organizations.  We are not dues driven or membership driven.  Every veteran, their dependents and their survivors who live in our respective jurisdictions are all our clients.  We serve them at no cost to the client.  We are equipped to handle and ready to assist veterans one on one, with every Department of Veterans Affairs benefit, state and local benefits, and the reason we are here today, to assist them in tracking their claim.

What we are asking in this bill under consideration is to allow the Governmental Veterans Service Officers to have “read only” access to their client’s information.  This will allow the local Governmental Veterans Service Officer to properly track and provide follow-up for their clients.  Sometimes a veteran will file an appeal on a denied claim and go to another Veterans Service Officer in another jurisdiction and file another claim for the same thing.  This ultimately adds to the backlog and unnecessarily bogs down the system.  If enacted, this bill will avoid duplication of claims which in turn, will assist in reducing the current backlog of claims.