Angela King is a leadership fellow with the nonprofit, nonpartisan group "Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America."
DURHAM, N.C. -
Durham veteran is on a new mission - to combat the backlog in the U.S.
Department of Veterans Affairs, which is frustrating veterans around the
King is a leadership fellow with the nonprofit, nonpartisan group "Iraq and
Afghanistan Veterans of America."
spent six years in the Navy. King was deployed three times
as part of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom as a medic.
recently moved to Durham to attend graduate school at Duke University.
met with representatives from the offices of Republican Sen. Richard Burr and
Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan on Wednesday in the Triangle.
King is trying to get support for legislation that would try to end the backlog to
get VA benefits.
someone who files a disability claim waits 238 days, according to statistics from
personally did not go through that, but when I separated from the military, I
soon realized that just because I took off my uniform, my duty to my fellow
comrades was not over and that I should take advantage and be passionate about
these issues for them to make lasting changes for our generation of veterans,
for other generations of veterans, and for other generations of veterans that
will soon probably come," King said.
has grown since 2009, according to the department's statistics. The department
completed 1 million claims per year in fiscal years 2010, 2011 and 2012, which
is a record. But the number of claims received continues to exceed the number
show 64 percent of the VA claims come from veterans filing supplemental claims
for additional benefits, while 36 percent are first time claims.
According to VA, the department's goal is to eliminate the backlog of
compensation claims pending for more than 125 days by the end of 2015.
both Burr and Hagan have been supportive so far when it comes to
issues involving veterans.
looking to support the veterans coming home and our generation is important to
them and they need our voices to know what they need to fix and they've been on
board with helping us fix them and we really appreciate that," she said.
Hagan's press office released this quote attributed to the senator about the
"I've been calling for action to reduce the unacceptable
backlog of veterans disability claims because our veterans should
not experience delays accessing their hard-earned benefits.
At my request, the VA is sending the Undersecretary for Benefits to the
Winston-Salem regional office, where most claims for veterans in North Carolina
are processed, and I look forward to hearing from her what concrete steps the
VA plans to take to address the backlog in North Carolina," she said.
"Our brave heroes have sacrificed so much for us, and I will not
be satisfied until the backlog is cleared, once and for all," Hagan
her press secretary, Hagan's office has closed more than 2,700 VA cases, many of which were
instances of veterans trying to get benefits.
Burr's press staff would not release the number of cases
his office has closed, citing constituent confidentiality.
is a ranking member of the Senator Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
commented on the passage of legislation through the committee.
"Our nation's veterans
selflessly give themselves to defend our freedoms, and it is our responsibility
to ensure that we provide them with the benefits and services they need and deserve,"
"I commend Chairman
Sanders and the members of the committee for giving several important pieces of
legislation their due consideration," Burr said.
King is also pushing legislation to fight sexual assaults in the military and a
bill that would allow all veterans to get "in-state" status at
universities so that tuition would be lower.