WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation to make it easier for veterans to access the benefits they’ve earned. The Clear Communication for Veterans Claims Act would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to eliminate overcomplicated language from written communications with veterans. Budzinski introduced the legislation with Congressman John Duarte (R-CA-13) and Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Bost (R-IL-12).

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“Every day, my office hears from veterans who are struggling to access the benefits they’ve earned because of confusing processes and overcomplicated documents,” said Congresswoman Budzinski. “I’m proud to be leading bipartisan legislation with Congressman John Duarte that would simplify the Department of Veterans Affairs’ correspondence with our nation’s heroes and cut out the complicated legal jargon. By ensuring that the VA communicates clearly and concisely with our veterans, we can improve access to critical services for veterans across the country.”

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Veterans and their families often struggle with the complexity of correspondence, often called Notice Letters, from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs regarding benefits decisions, including those related to education, healthcare, and other services. The complexity of this correspondence can be confusing, which can be frustrating for veterans and increase stress levels.

The Clear Communications for Veterans Claims Act would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to improve VA Notice Letters so that they are shorter and easier to understand for veterans and their families. Specifically, the legislation requires the Secretary to enter into an agreement with a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) to assess Notice Letters within 30 days after the Act’s enactment. It also requires the Secretary, within 90 days of receiving the assessment, to submit the recommendations from the FFRDC to the Committees on Veterans Affairs in the Senate and the House, and to implement these recommendations. The legislation is also sponsored by Representatives David Valadao (R-CA-22), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL-27), Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY-04), Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ-06) and Don Davis (D-NC-05).

The full text of the bill can be found here.

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