Veterans Service Records Request Backlog Eliminated Following Rounds and Tester Efforts
National Personnel Records Center tackles requests backlog following senators’ push to provide veterans with timelier access to benefits
WASHINGTON – The backlog of requests for military service records at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) has been eliminated following efforts from U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), member and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The NPRC, operated by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), stores military service records that veterans rely on to access their earned Department of Veterans Affairs-administered (VA) programs, including health care, education, disability, pension and burial benefits.
In 2022, Rounds introduced the bipartisan Access for Veterans to Records Act. The bill, which was passed into law as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, provided NARA with additional resources to clear the backlog of hundreds of thousands of records requests.
“Our men and women in uniform have sacrificed so much to protect our freedom,” said Rounds. “While the NPRC’s backlog was unacceptable, I am pleased it has been remediated so veterans can acquire their records in a timely manner. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make certain our veterans have access to the services and benefits they have earned.”
“Veterans need to be able to quickly access their military service records to apply for the VA care and benefits they earned,” said Tester. “These men and women should never have to wait months on end to access these critical records, and I’m glad NPRC staff worked overtime to tackle this backlog for veterans seeking their hard-earned benefits. This is a step in the right direction, and I’ll keep working with my colleagues to make sure the NPRC has the support it needs to deliver for veterans in a timely manner.”
From March 2020 through March 2022, the NPRC backlog grew to more than 600,000 pending requests from veterans for military service records due to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. To tackle the backlog, NPRC worked to build its capacity to fulfill veterans’ requests by implementing technology improvements, hiring additional staff and expanding its contract labor.