Reps. Kuster, Van Taylor, Jimmy Panetta Urge NPRC to Resume Processing Military Personnel Records
233 Members Send Bipartisan Letter Highlighting Dire Need
Washington, November 23, 2020
Washington, DC - Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) is calling on the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) to implement new policies so that they may resume processing military personnel, health, and medical records requests and address the growing backlog of requests due to the closure of the facility amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The bipartisan letter also underscores all Agency policy changes should continue to consider the health and safety of NPRC’s workforce.
The letter asks NPRC Director Scott Levins “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.” The letter is signed by 233 Members of Congress including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs David Roe.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, NPRC reduced on site operations on March 23, 2020, only processing “emergency requests” and remains in the current status with no definitive timeline for addressing the backlog or improving processing times. Personnel records are needed for veterans, military, civil service retirees, 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 caused unprecedented challenges in our everyday lives, but it must not get in the way of veterans having access to the benefits and services they have earned,” said Kuster. “Just as so many other businesses, agencies and organizations have done across the country, the National Personnel Records Center is fully capable of maintaining its critical operations and ensuring veterans’ health, and medical records are processed while keeping its staff safe. I’m pleased to join my colleagues in advocating for our men and women who have served in uniform and I urge the NPRC to heed our requests – our veterans deserve nothing less.”
Author of the letter, Congressman Van Taylor said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant challenges for every facet of life, however, just as families and businesses across the country have worked to overcome these challenges, our federal agencies must adapt to continue serving the American people.” He continued, “The failure of NPRC to process military personal records has impacted our veterans and their families, who require these records to qualify for a range of benefits. Our Veterans have made countless sacrifices and we owe it to them to process these important requests in a timely manner.”
“In dealing with this pandemic, we've learned that we must adapt, adjust, and continue to go forward. The NPRC must do the same to ensure that our servicemembers receive the proper support they deserve when it comes to obtaining their personnel records,” said Congressman Panetta. “Now more than ever, our federal government needs to work for the people of this nation. We’ll continue to work with the NPRC so that it too continues to serve those who serve our nation.”
Led by Congressman Van Taylor (R-TX-03) after hearing from veterans in his district, and Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20), the letter was signed by 233 Members of Congress, including 122 Democrats and 111 Republicans. The letter can be viewed here.