US streamlines process for Filipino war vets

Posted at 07/11/2013 2:12 AM

WASHINGTON – The appeals process for Filipino World War II veterans contesting their disqualification from US compensation has been streamlined to accelerate the processing of their claims, a White House interagency working group said.

The group was created in October 2012 to address the concerns of many Filipino veterans who believe their compensation claims for helping the US fight the Japanese were improperly denied because of bureaucratic hassles.

President Barack Obama in April 2009 signed a legislation creating the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund (FVEC) providing one-time payments to Filipino veterans in the amount of $15,000 for US citizens and $9,000 for non-citizens including those living in the Philippines.

Of 45,991 applications received, 18,790 were approved and a total payment of $224,299,000 was made, official figures show.

Of those denied – largely due to unverified record of wartime service – 4,525 filed notices of disagreement, an appeals process.

As of last month 455 appeals were granted, 889 were denied and 143 are pending.

The inter agency working group, comprising the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Defense Department, and the National Archives and Record Administration, was tasked with analyzing the process Filipino veterans had undergone in demonstrating eligibility for compensation in order to ensure that all applications received thorough and fair review.

Rosye Cloud, policy director for Veterans, Wounded Warriors and Military Families at the White House, said as part of the streamlining process the US Army has placed a priority on requests for service determinations received from the Department of Veterans Affairs for Filipino veterans.

The National Personnel Records Center, which provides storage and reference services for records of the US Army, has reduced the response time for service determination requests to 10 days or less.

It has also determined authentication does not require a claimant to be listed on multiple rosters compiled by the US Army in the Philippines during its post-war recognition program between 1942 and 1948.

Cloud issued her report in a White House blog on Tuesday entitled “Recognizing the extraordinary contribution of Filipino veterans.”