Summary: S.928 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.928. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (05/09/2013)

Claims Processing Improvement Act of 2013 - Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish: (1) a working group to assess and develop recommendations for improving the employee work credit and work management systems of the Veterans Benefits Administration, and (2) a task force to assess the retention and training of claims processors and adjudicators employed by the VA and other federal departments and agencies.

Requires the Secretary, in providing assistance to a VA benefits claimant, to make no fewer than two attempts to obtain needed records from another federal department or agency, and to notify the claimant of the inability to obtain all of the records sought. Requires a record sought before the adjudication of a claim but received after such adjudication to be considered part of the original record.

Authorizes the Secretary to recognize representatives of Indian tribes in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of VA claims.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) carry out a pilot program of including the participation of local governments and tribal organizations in improving the quality of disability compensation claims submitted to the VA, and (2) report quarterly through 2015 to the congressional veterans committees on the backlog of submitted claims.

Changes from one year to 180 days the filing period of a notice of disagreement to a decision on a claim, after which appellate review will be initiated. Allows the Secretary to waive such deadline for good cause shown, as long as such notice is filed within 186 days after the original deadline.

Revises the manner of appearance (in person, through picture and voice transmission, etc.) and appropriate location of a hearing before the Board of Veterans' Appeals.

Authorizes the Secretary to disclose VA patient medical records, as appropriate under an appeal, to the Supreme Court, a U.S. Court of Appeals, or the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Extends: (1) VA authority to operate a regional office in the Republic of the Philippines, (2) the period for the scheduling of VA medical exams for veterans receiving temporary disability ratings due to severe mental disorders, (3) the marriage delimiting date for surviving spouses of Persian Gulf War veterans to qualify for a VA death pension, and (4) the temporary authority for the performance of VA medical disability examinations by contract physicians.

Requires a report from the Secretary to the veterans committees on: (1) the furnishing of general and specialty medical examinations by the VA for purposes of adjudicating benefits claims, and (2) progress of the VA's acceptable clinical evidence initiative in reducing the necessity for in-person disability examinations and other efforts to comply with requirements concerning the acceptance of reports of private physicians.