Under fire for its backlog of disability claims, the Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday announced it would enlist the help of two established service organizations to speed the process.

The Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion will assist veterans in fully documenting their disability claim. When a claim has all the required information, the VA can process it in half the time and it does not become backlogged.

Undersecretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey said the new initiative should result in more veteran service organizations pitching in to provide help.

Veterans groups have a long history of helping in the submission of claims, and DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Barry Jesinoski called the new partneship "a common-sense approach."

James E. Koutz, national commander of The American Legion, said teams of experts from his organization have gone to regional VA offices to talk about the best way to achieve fully developed claims.

The partnership is formally known as the Fully Developed Claims Community of Practice.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., welcomed the news, but he said it is not enough.

"Much more needs to be done right now (because) 10,000 veterans are stuck waiting for answers," he said.

There is still no word from VA Secretary Eric Shinseki about a proposed partnership with the veterans law school clinic at the College of William and Mary.

Sen. Mark Warner is pressing for the VA to forge an alliance with the clinic, which enlists law school students to prepare complex claims -- exactly the sort that become stuck in the system.

The clinic has provided thousands of dollars in free legal help, and has a documented track record in helping veterans with their claims.