The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

June 19, 2013

Walz, Franken bill would ease VA backlog

Minor changes would help vets get disability ratings more quickly


A veteran of the Coast Guard, Brodie Cownie, watched as the staff members discussed the bill.

“These things really make sense. I see how they could speed up the process,” said Cownie, who lived in Honolulu before moving to the Mankato area in 2009. He retired as a lieutenant commander and now works at South Central College in network administration.

He said he had good experiences with the VA. “My expectation was that it was going to take longer,” Cownie said.

That appears to be in part because Minnesota's VA office is among the country's best. Its average wait time for disability ratings is 94 days, compared to 313 days for the Chicago office.

The bill is identical in the House and Senate, and Walz has secured Republican co-sponsors such as Jeff Denham of California. It hasn't yet passed the armed service committee in either body.

The total cost for the bill is less than $100,000.


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