Shabby way to treat vets : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Shabby way to treat vets

Wednesday, March 22, 2000

A VETERAN who files a disability claim today will probably have to wait until late September or October before it's processed. That's according to a review by the Associated Press that found the Veterans Benefits Administration takes an average of 205 days to process a claim -- 41 days longer than it took in 1991.

Federal agencies are not known for their efficiency, but it should not take longer to process a claim in today's point-and-click environment than it took nearly a decade ago. Congress needs to find out what's wrong here and make sure appropriate changes are made.

The VBA distributes $22 billion a year in disability payments to veterans suffering from service-related injuries or disease. The federal agency also dispenses pension benefits to eligible survivors of veterans.

More than 500,000 veterans are expected to die this year. Some will die waiting for their disability claims to be processed. In some cases, that's unavoidable. But the hardships are compounded by the VBA's lack of a proper computer system to track cases, reduce backlogs, and provide applicants with current information.

Since 1991, the agency has spent $238 million for computer hardware, software, contractors, and salaries. Despite these upgrades, most information in a veteran's file is still on paper, and a computer program that was supposed to link all of the agency's programs has been a dud. Caseworkers use outdated programs that prevent them from quickly scanning a veteran's file.

The director of the VBA's disability compensation and benefit programs, Robert Epley, is promising better service within two years. He says the agency will buy a new computer system and will improve employee training to reduce processing errors.

The agency had better improve -- or be held accountable. The nation's 3.2 million veterans and their survivors deserve better service than this.

-- - (, March 22, 2000


Gotta love the Clintons... Only in America could a soldier be treated as such. Loved in Wartime...Despised during Peace. "Soldiers and Dogs keep off the Grass!" I've been out now for 370+/- days, filed my VA claim 2 months before I was out...I'm still waiting... F.T.A/VA and BOHICA...

-- Billy Boy (, March 22, 2000.

We owe our VETS a little better than this. Pretty shabby. The VA system is still a little faster than the applications for SSDI/SSI disability benefits, which take anywhere from 3 months to two years.

-- suzy (, March 22, 2000.

Billy Boy,

If you're having trouble with your V.A. maybe you could spend a couple of hours a week or even a month to help them out?

I did an internship at my VA, and to be fair, you need to know that they are ALL understaffed and underpaid. I don't know if you're strapped for time, but if you're not, I'm sure they would appreciate any help you can give them.

Maybe you can benefit from the experience yourself? :o)


-- Laura (Ladylogic@...), March 22, 2000.

I got a "beef" with this scenerio. Regulation reads "payments to veterans suffering from service-related injuries or disease". I can tell you there are disabled Service members, getting your tax dollars, when their disability was no where near "Service Connected". One was a young fellow who hurt his back while playing football, on a peacefull base, after hours. I think he got 20%. Another who developed a disease, many non-military citizens have, was in no way Service Connected, I think they got 100%. I have no fault with paying my Veteran who gets hurt in defending our Country. But you must be aware, there seems to be many Free Loaders.

-- Gravy Train (, March 22, 2000.

Billy Boy:

It seems that folks LOVE to blame everything on the current administration. You might take some time to discuss this with a returning Vietnam veteran.

-- Anita (notgiving@anymore.thingee), March 22, 2000.

Anita! What did I miss? Do we still have "Returning Vets from Viet Namn?". I saw some soldiers off, watched fewer come back. Are you saying they are still "returning"?. After all these years? Let me know the port, or the base, if you will please. And if by chance, you are frozen in a time, I apologize.

-- Gravy Train (, March 22, 2000.

I couldn't agree more than with Laura. Working for a social service agency in the same boat, you cannot believe every "story" you hear, or what the government requires in order to process a case. I deal with non-vets in the same way everyday, at taxpayers expense, and there are so many sad stories, most of you would not believe it happens in this country. Judge no one until you walk a mile in his moccassins.

-- Aunt Bee (, March 22, 2000.


Heh. I saw that error AFTER I hit the submit button. What I MEANT to say was that the returning Vietnam vets were treated as poorly as the vets today. The VA was in shambles even then. But you knew that, right?

-- Anita (notgiving@anymore.thingee), March 23, 2000.

Have to add my Testimomy, thought not from whence the Viet Nam soldiers. Three years ago, I sent for repicals for my Fathers' WWII metals. I gave up hope, never seeking to follow up on today's idiots. What shall one know, Three years later, after I asked, my Fathers' metals showed up. What took so long? Who had the fortitude, and the stance? Thank you. BTY could you please resuce me from those who think I am the village idiot, because I have taken a stance. Greetings to you.

-- Hells Bells (, December 31, 2000.

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