Congressman Keller introduces bill to address backlog in veterans’ records
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) introduced the RECORDS Act, legislation that directs the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) to fully reopen and report to Congress on its efforts to expedite the records requests of veterans who—in some cases—have waited over a year for documentation necessary to receive benefits.
The NPRC was forced to scale down its operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently staffed at 25 percent capacity. This is well below the staffing level needed to process an estimated 5,000 records requests it receives on an average day. These service records are required for veterans to take advantage of VA benefits, adjudicate disability claims, and request a commendation, award, or regalia such as a Purple Heart or campaign service medal.
On the RECORDS Act, Congressman Fred Keller made the following statement:
“America’s veterans have served our nation honorably—putting their lives on the line to defend our God-given freedoms—and they deserve timely access to the benefits they earned. It is unacceptable to have half a million instances of veterans experiencing delayed access to VA and medical benefits due to a massive backlog at the NPRC. The first step to effectively tackling this problem is to immediately reopen the NPRC, get employees back to work, and ensure our veterans get the level of responsiveness that they deserve. Our veterans fought for us. Now it’s time for us to fight for them.”
Full text of the RECORDS Act can be found here.
Since November of last year, Congressman Keller and several bipartisan colleagues have repeatedly called for the NPRC to work with Congress towards a solution that will address the current 500,000 request backlog at the NPRC.
In April, Congressman Keller sent a letter to David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), requesting immediate action to eliminate the backlog and demanding information about the administration’s plans to expedite records requests.
Most recently, Congressman Keller participated in the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs’ Member Day hearing about frustrations he has heard from constituents related to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) and its growing backlog of unprocessed requests for documentation from veterans and military families.