Shinseki said he doesn’t know why it took so long for the VA to start automating its claims process. He noted that he only has been on the job two years.
Many injured veterans have complained that their disability claims can take years to process, meaning they struggle to support themselves and their families while they wait for an answer.
Richard Bayliss, a retired National Guard command sergeant major who attended the Indianola meeting, said he was impressed with Shinseki. “He definitely has his eye on the problems in the system.”
Shinseki spoke to reporters at the VA Medical Center in Des Moines before heading to Indianola, where he held a discussion with about 30 veterans and representatives of veterans groups and members of Congress. That meeting was closed to the public because the secretary wanted to hear frank views, an aide said.