The enacted 2014 federal budget gave $63.4 billion to the Veteran Affairs (VA) department, which provides benefits to veterans and their families.
The VA has accumulated a massive backlog of claims waiting to be processed, which it managed to trim from 600,000 to 400,000 – a still startling number – from March to November 2013.
President Obama announced that “slashing that backlog” was a White House priority in his 2014 State of the Union address, and his proposed 2015 budget includes a $138.7 million investment in the Veterans Claims Intake Program in an effort to reform and speed up the process.
The White House’s budget proposes a $1.6 billion investment in helping homeless and at-risk veterans, including $500 million for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing, $321 million for a supportive housing program for veterans and $75 million for 10,000 new housing vouchers through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
For the VA, the largest part of the budget is directed toward veteran medical care, which is currently $56 billion, a 2.7 percent increase from 2014’s appropriations. This number includes, $589 million for medical and prosthetic research and $7 billion for expanding mental health services.