Thursday, February 28, 2008

VA Undersecretary Leaving Post

Admiral Daniel Cooper resigns from VA

VA Undersecretary Leaving Post

Published: February 28, 2008
Filed at 4:52 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Veterans Affairs Department said Thursday its undersecretary responsible for benefits is leaving.

The agency has been besieged by complaints about its backlog in claims, which have escalated, in part, because of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking assistance.

Daniel L. Cooper, a retired Navy vice admiral, departs April 1. A VA spokesman said Cooper was leaving for personal reasons.

Cooper was credited by the VA with helping the agency to strengthen its outreach efforts and improve its communication on the Internet during his six years in the position.

''Dan Cooper's leadership, management savvy and personable touch were indispensable in guiding VA benefits programs into the Internet era and adapting the department to the needs of service members from Iraq and Afghanistan,'' said Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake.

But Cooper has faced criticism by veterans advocates for the backlog.

A recent study by the Government Accountability Office found that between 2003 and 2007, the inventory of claims awaiting a decision by the VA grew by more than 50 percent to a total of about 392,000. During the same period, it said the average number of days to process a claim grew by three weeks to 132 days.

The report noted that the VA continues to take steps to help improve claims-processing performance. However, it said the VA still experiences significant service delivery challenges, including lengthy processing times and inconsistent decisions.

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After filing my initial claim in Novemeber 2002 and still waiting for a hearing for a resolution all I can say is good riddance my claim was filed before he even got there and it is still waiting for adjudication 6 years is just flat wrong

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