Dr. Ruiz and Sen. Hirono Applaud Passage of American Heroes COLA Act

February 11, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Dr. Raul Ruiz (CA-36) and Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (HI) released the following statement after the passage of the American Heroes COLA Act.

In unanimity the U.S House of Representatives passed The Survivors Claims Processing Automation Act (H.R. 2691) and The Veterans Access to Speedy Review Act (H.R. 732), both introduced by Congressman Ruiz, as part of the American Heroes COLA Act (H.R. 677). The Veterans Survivors Claim Process Automation Act (S.1451) was also introduced in the Senate by Senator Hirono, where it awaits Senate consideration.

“My two bills vastly improve the burdensome and time-consuming benefit claims process that many disabled veterans and their surviving families must face in order to secure the benefits they need and deserve. The solutions offered in these bills simplify and improve the benefits process,” said Dr. Ruiz. “The issues facing our nation’s heroes are pressing, and these bills are a pragmatic, commonsense solution that will get them the benefits owed to them. I’m honored to join Senator Hirono in serving our nation’s veterans."

“Our veterans and their families shouldn’t have to worry about the often lengthy and cumbersome claims process for survivors benefits, particularly when they have just lost a loved one,” said Senator Hirono. “I will continue to work to see this measure signed into law and thank Representative Ruiz for joining me in seeing this legislation through the House.”

The Veterans Access to Speedy Review Act, introduced by Congressman Ruiz, will allow veterans facing the claims appeals process to choose between an in-person hearing or one conducted via teleconference, which may be more timely and does not require transportation. The American Legion, Association of the United States Navy, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Blinded Veterans of America support this measure.

The Veterans’ Survivor Claims Processing Automation Act, introduced by Congressman Ruiz in the House and Senator Hirono in the Senate, will allow a veterans’ family to receive burial benefits in a more timely manner by removing unnecessary duplicative paperwork. The VA, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Military Officers Association of America, AMVETS, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and American Federation of Government Employees support this measure.