WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a meeting today with Brigadier General (Ret.) Allison Hickey, nominee for the VA Undersecretary of Benefits, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) pressed for solutions to Ohio’s persistently low benefits ranking for veterans. Ohio ranks third from last in the average amount of money that a disabled veteran receives from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, according to the most recent statistics. In 2005, Ohio ranked last.  

SB and Gen. Hickey“How can we make sure that a service-connected disability is worth the same in Sandusky as it is in San Diego?” Brown said. “As a member of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I’m always fighting to help our veterans receive the benefits that they have earned with their service—and that means ensuring that Ohio’s veterans receive the same benefits as veterans from elsewhere across America. Should General Hickey be confirmed, as expected, as the VA Undersecretary of Benefits, I will continue to work with her to make sure that our state’s veterans are compensated fairly and equally.”

Brown is the author of several legislative initiatives that would strengthen our nation's commitment to veterans by improving education reimbursements and expanding employment protection for former service members. Following Ohio’s dead last ranking in veteran’s benefits, Brown introduced the Veterans Disability Fairness Act, which became law in October 2008. The legislation directs the VA Secretary to implement a quality assurance program to ensure the accuracy and consistency of claims distribution. 

Brown has worked to improve the disability compensation for Ohio’s veterans by streamlining the outdated processing systems that have created the backlog of claims. Reducing the backlog can also help improve access to VA medical care.