Note to military veterans: Rep. Steve Knight is one of your “wingmen.’’
Yes, that’s a metaphor for the support the Santa Clarita Republican has shown toward vets in his two-plus years in the House. But it took on a slightly more literal meaning this week when the House unanimously passed the “Wingman Act,” designed to help veterans more easily navigate the bureaucracy of filing claims with the Veterans Administration.
Knight was one of 174 co-sponsors, from both parties, of the bill — officially H.R. 512 and authored by Florida Republican Ted Yoho. It passed on Monday night.
“Our service men and women risked everything to defend our country, and we must provide them with access to efficient quality care,’’ Knight said in a statement.
“My office stands ready to assist all of our community’s veterans in receiving the benefits they deserve, and I am pleased that H.R. 512 will make that process easier and quicker.”
Knight spokesman Daniel Outlaw said the bill expedites the process for vets who occasionally need to go through their local congressional representative for help on claims ranging from medical issues to help with small businesses.
According to Yoho’s office, the bill “streamlines the benefits claims process between the VA and the congressional staff processing those claims on behalf of veterans and their families.
“Congressional staff (would be) given read-only access to review the status of a pending claim, medical records, comp and pen records, rating decisions, statement of the case, supplementary statement of the case, notice of disagreement, and Form-9 files within a reasonable amount of time.”
The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate.
Veterans who might need to contact Knight’s Santa Clarita office can do so by calling (661) 255-5630.