Senate Passes Padilla, Braun Bipartisan Bill to Streamline Veterans’ Access to Benefits Claims

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) applauded the unanimous Senate passage of their bipartisan legislation to streamline veterans’ access to their benefit claim files. The Wounded Warrior Access Act will require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish and maintain a secure online tool or website to enable veterans or their representatives to make requests to receive their claim files electronically. Representative Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.-33) led the passage of the legislation in the House of Representatives, and the bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

When a veteran submits a claim for benefits to the VA, a claims file (C-File) is created. C-Files contain a veteran’s service records, results of VA exams, additional information submitted by the veteran, and any material the VA deems necessary to decide the claim. Currently, veterans must travel to a regional VA location or mail in a form to request a paper copy of their C-Files, slowing down the process for individuals to gain access to their information. 

“Those who have served our country with honor, courage, and distinction deserve our nation’s enduring support and gratitude,” said Senator Padilla. “Veterans should not have to travel to a regional VA location to access their claim file or wait for a physical copy to come in the mail; they should be able to quickly access the information they need electronically. I am glad to see my Senate colleagues unanimously stand up for our veterans today to make it easier for them to access their hard-earned benefits. I encourage President Biden to swiftly sign this legislation into law.”

“American veterans represent the absolute best our country has to offer – and they deserve the absolute best when they return home. Veterans should not have to jump through hoops just to gain access to benefits they are entitled to, and I’m proud that this bill to streamline the benefits process has passed the Senate and is one step closer to helping veterans,” said Senator Braun.

“I’m thrilled that the Wounded Warrior Access Act passed the Senate unanimously and is on its way to the President’s desk,” said Representative Aguilar. “I introduced this bill because veterans who put their lives on the line for our country deserve greater access to their benefits. By making the claims process more transparent, veterans can soon access their benefits without jumping through unnecessary hoops. I will keep fighting to raise the quality of life for our veterans.”

This legislation has been endorsed by Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc., and Wounded Warrior Project.

Full text of the bill can be found here.