by Dennis Kucinich
Dec. 18, 2007
DFAS Director Promises To Add 61 New Employees To Eliminate Benefits’ Backlog
Washington, Dec 18 – Just two weeks after calling for an investigation into the massive delays in federal benefits to combat-injured veterans, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) secured a victory today. In a meeting with Kucinich this morning, the director of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) vowed to require Lockheed Martin, the contractor in charge of processing the claims for DFAS, to more than double its workforce in order to eliminate the immense backlog.
“It is a tragedy that more than 48,000 retired veterans are still waiting for a determination of eligibility and payment of benefits. These veterans deserve only the best, and so far, they have only received lip service from Lockheed. Now that DFAS is stepping in, veterans have hope for resolution of longstanding financial claims,” Kucinich said.
Kucinich’s offices have received complaints from veterans in Northeast Ohio, prompting him to begin the investigation.
On December 3, 2007, Kucinich sent a letter to Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), requesting that the committee investigate the causes for continuing delays in the distribution of federal benefits to disabled retired veterans who were injure in combat or hazardous duty. Lockheed Martin, as the contractor for DFAS, is responsible for determining eligibility and getting payments to veterans.
DFAS promised to eliminate the current backlog that began in 2003 by April of 2008. Kucinich vowed to maintain oversight.
“I applaud DFAS’ commitment to making sure Lockheed does not profit from denying veterans their benefits. Today’s commitment is a good start.
“Federal benefits are meaningless if the intended beneficiaries do not receive them. I look forward to working with DFAS to eliminate this backlog so that veterans, who gave so much to this country, get everything promised to them. Our veterans deserve better,” Kucinich said.
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