Report: Veterans Increasingly Die Waiting For Benefits

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Well, it isn’t exactly a cheery story for the holidays, but a necessary one. The data obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting points out  that long wait times are contributing to tens of thousands of veterans being approved for disability benefits and pensions only after it is too late for the money to help them.

Everyone is making the appropriate angry noises, but what do you think needs to be done by the VA to end this issue once and for all?

From the Daily Beast:

In the fiscal year that ended in September, the agency paid $437 million in retroactive benefits to the survivors of nearly 19,500 veterans who died waiting. The figures represent a dramatic increase from three years earlier, when the widows, parents and children of fewer than 6,400 veterans were paid $7.9 million on claims filed before their loved one’s death.

These veterans range from World War II veterans who die of natural causes without their pensions to Iraq War veterans who commit suicide after their disability claims for post-traumatic stress disorder are denied.

The ranks of survivors waiting for these benefits also have surged, from fewer than 3,000 in December 2009 to nearly 13,000 this month.

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4 Comments

  1. I realize that America is a very pro-military country, and that the majority of the citizens are very proud of the military and its Veterans. However, it would behoove most people who are sympathetic to the wave of soldiers claiming PTSD to stop, analyze the situation carefully, and maybe even have a conversation with someone who has made a PTSD claim.

    I have seen the fraud first hand, as I am currently staying in a VA hospital while undergoing rehabilitation, and I will be the first to admit that the majority of PTSD patients I commonly interact with are merely attempting to defraud the government for an undeserved percentage of tax payer money. Many of these people openly admit that they never served in a combat zone, served less than two years in the active duty military, and owe most of their personal problems to drugs, alcohol, or an abusive or impoverished childhood. Such conditions, while regrettable, are not the fault of the United States Military, which is completely volunteer and chalked full of wonderful benefits for both Veterans and their families.

    It’s a sad thing to see an amputee struggle for years in a transition unit while awaiting their disability claim, only to have the process elongated and essentially sabotaged by a group of psych patients whose diagnoses are dubious, unverifiable or just plain false. Call me insensitive if you must, but I have a hard time believing that an able bodied, 27-year-old man, who only served two years in the Air Force deserves a check for $500 every month because he feels his drill instructor stressed him out too much in basic training. And, that is not an exaggeration or cynical perspective; it is the story of someone who currently has a claim in.

    I realize that there are many veterans who suffer as a result of their horrific, war-time experiences, and that many of these people are unable to function within normal parameters and require some monetary assistance. However, they only account for an increasingly small percentage of the total number of claims being considered, and anyone who wishes to deny this should visit one of the over-crowded, VA sponsored domiciles, and spend a few days with some of the fine, upstanding Veterans who jest about “cheating the system” at the dinner table while consuming their tax-payer funded meal. I promise, you will never look at PTSD again.

  2. [email protected]. I am a Viet nam veterans who submitted my claim for PTSD and for Cancer, which I got from being directly exposed to Agent Orange. I submitted my claim in November 1967, and I am still waiting for my claim to be finalized. I received my
    100% for PTSD, and 100% for the Cancer in 1999. I was only paid retro-active back to 1987. Prior to my getting 100% Service Connected benefits, I received a Pension for the Cancer and for what they first called PTSD. In 1967 they called it a Nervous condition!
    I received this pension from 1978 through 1987, then my illness’ was adjudicated as
    Service Connected and I was only paid Service connected benefits from 1999-1987.
    I should have received serviced connected benefits dating back to 1967, even though my claim was submitted in November 1967, two weeks after I came home. But because I
    did not show up for the my first QTC exams, the VA refuses to go back to the date of the original claim. I had a DRO hearing last September 12, 2012, on this issue, and I have yet to receive a decision from the Buffalo Regional office. I appealed my 1999 decision
    about the money owed me from 1967-1987, while my family and I were living in Stone Mountain, Georgia. But because I was the person who exposed to the Media about the
    thief of 10 Million dollars in compensation and benefits monies, by three high ranking VA officials, who made up claims for dead veterans, approved the claims, and received millions of dollars themselves from this act. They also created a 1 million claims backlog because they were doing phony claims while the real ones went un-adjudicated, for as much as 10 to 12 years. I was Blacklisted by the Atlanta VA after that. They have done everything in their power to stop my claim from being completed. I had to move back up North just to get the DRO hearing I requested in Georgia 12 years earlier!!! Now I am waiting for that DRO hearing decision…still. While recently visiting the Buffalo Regional office to check on the status of my hearing, I got into a heated discussion with the VA rep. who told me that there are no cases pending in the VA that dates back to 1967????? Mine does!! My original claim is still open, pending this DRO decision, and what ever decision the US Court of Appeals, for Veterans Claims, which also
    is reviewing this old claim, makes. I have been heard twice by this High Court, and again, I am waitng for a decision that should have happen 46 years ago. Oh! by the way, because I became disabled at the age of 20, discharged with a medical discharge,
    I collect NO Social Security because they claim I only have 30 quarters of work history and I need 40 to collect Social Security. I am 67 years old now and get no type of Social Security, even though I paid into the system from jobs with, a bank, the Post Office, Time & Life magazine, and two other jobs I had before entering the service in 1965.
    I started the Georgia Veterans Group, Inc.,a 501 (c)(3) non profit veterans advocacy group, and the newly formed Buffalo Veterans Group, and we are planning a trip to Washington DC, with Native American, African American, and Hispanic veterans who have served this country in a time of War, and have been abused, and neglected by the VA system. We will visit the members of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, the
    Secretary of the VA, and with any luck, the President of the United States, who we have
    been in contact with, for the past 4 years, and missed an opportunity to meet with the President, because of the oil spill in the Gulf. We expect to see him this trip. Contact me
    at 716-812-7707 if you are interested in going with us to voice your opinion. IMarch is
    the month we plan to make this trip, pending the response we get from you.
    CWA.

  3. We are putting on performances of Veterans Theater in New Mexico to demonstrate precisely what happens when Veterans are waiting for appointments at VA offices. http://peaceaware.com
    In USA 49,933 veterans died waiting for claims to be processed. This is no laughing matter. There are 22 veteran suicides a day. Get the facts.

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