Federal Manager's Daily Report

In an increasingly rare act of bipartisan cooperation, leaders of the House Oversight and Reform Committee of both parties have asked the National Archives and Records Administration inspector general to examine the backlog of veteran records requests at the National Personnel Records Center and recommend further steps to address it.

While earlier projections had shown the backlog being eliminated by next October through increased staffing and other steps, the latest report from the agency “indicated that more than 550,000 requests are currently in the backlog and that progress to reduce the backlog was interrupted by the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus,” they said in a letter to the IG.

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“NARA must keep its workforce safe, but the agency also needs to take action to ensure our veterans do not wait years for records they require to access critical services,” they said.

Along with the SSA and IRS, there has been consistent pressure to return more employees to the regular workplace in the name of customer service; the center houses records that are essential for veterans to receive service-related benefits, including medical treatment, unemployment assistance, and emergency housing services.

They also asked for an evaluation of how the how the agency could digitize records and enable remote processing, how to communicate better with veterans and their families, how NARA can improve its ability to acquire and award contracts to support its effort to process veteran records requests, and whether any additional resources are required to process outstanding records requests in a timely manner.

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2021 Federal Employees Handbook