The American Legion helps get National Personnel Records Center to reopen

Published 7:01 am Wednesday, February 24, 2021

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The American Legion Department of Minnesota had a key role in this week’s reopening of the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC).

The center’s massive collection of federal-employee records is crucial for resolving veterans’ health care claims with the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

The American Legion Department of Minnesota passed a resolution on Feb. 11 calling for the reopening of the NPRC, which closed in March 2020 as the pandemic set in.

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The resolution was under consideration for the National American Legion, and The American Legion’s Washington Office made NPRC officials aware that the resolution was approved in Minnesota and under consideration at National.

The NPRC opened shortly after.

“This resolution addresses the important roll the National Personnel Records Center plays in VA’s duty to assist veterans during the claims process. With NPRC being shut down since March 2020 due to the pandemic only fulfilling emergency records request, it has played a role in VA’s claims inventory reaching 500,000 with 210,000 considered backlogged over 125 days pending,” said Department Service Officer Jeremy Wolfsteller at The American Legion Department of Minnesota.

“This is an update driven by veteran feedback, and officially a part of The American Legion Department of Minnesota,” said Department Adjutant Mike Maxa. “The NRPC backlog never should have reached this magnitude.”

The National Personnel Records Center is part of the National Archives and Records Administration.

The American Legion’s National Executive Committee was planning to officially vote on the resolution during its Spring Meetings, held virtually May 5-6. The issue of the backlog also will be brought up at the annual Washington Conference March 1-3. The Legion supports legislation aimed at funding NPRC $150 million to digitize veterans’ records who served prior to the year 2000, when scanning of documents began.

The American Legion learned of the reopening from Acting Under Secretary of Veterans Benefits Thomas Murphy. He said NPRC workers are coming in and a second shift has been added. Overtime and weekend work is being offered. Contractors have been hired to help with document scanning.