Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) recently joined 233 lawmakers in a bipartisan letter to the National Archives and Records Administration Director Scott Levins expressing concerns over the rising number of unprocessed requests for military personnel, health, and medical records from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) amidst the pandemic.
A signed copy of the letter can be found here, and the full text is included below.
We write to voice our growing concern with the rising number of unprocessed requests for military personnel, health, and medical records from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) amidst the current pandemic. Except for a limited number of emergency requests, since March of this year, our constituents’ requests for military personnel records from NPRC have largely been unfulfilled. Moreover, there remains no definitive timeline in which our constituent veterans can expect to have their requests processed. As you know, personnel records are needed for veterans and their dependents to qualify for a range of benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a significant challenge for all Americans and the Federal agencies who serve them, and efforts to protect workforce health and safety are absolutely of top importance. However, as more time continues to elapse, these delays are causing significant anxiety and hardship for many of our nation’s veterans.
It’s for that reason we write to strongly encourage you to work to implement new policies and procedures that can both protect the NPRC’s workforce and ensure our nation’s veterans are getting the records they need and deserve in a timely fashion. We also ask that you provide our offices with a working plan including a timeline for how your agency intends to address the growing backlog of military personnel records requests. As many of our constituents have already been waiting for months to obtain their records, providing.
The NPRC serves as an important cornerstone in our nation’s system to provide and care for veterans, but without your agency’s needed services many of those who have worn the uniform are experiencing significant claims processing delays. We ask for your committed leadership to overcome these challenges and to assist in providing veterans with the records needed to pursue their earned benefits. As Members of Congress we stand ready to assist in these efforts.