The Veterans Affairs official overseeing benefits is pledging aggressive action to address charges of mismanagement of disability claims.

Allison Hickey, the VA's undersecretary for benefits, spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday in advance of an inspector general report examining complaints about the mishandling of claims at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Regional Office.

She says the VA has worked quickly to install a new regional office director, provide training and implement additional protections for whistleblowers.

She also pointed to a new streamlined VA application process that will allow veterans to use standardized forms for claims and appeals.

Hickey declined to comment specifically on the inspector general report. Excerpts show it makes 35 recommendations to address whistleblower complaints of mishandled mail and manipulation of dates to make old claims look new.

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