It’s rare as hen’s teeth these days for Senators across party lines to agree on anything. But one thing they do agree on is that they’re fed up with the Obama Administration not taking action to clear up the backlog of disability benefit applications at the Veterans’ Administration. Over the past four years, that agency has enjoyed a 40 percent budget increase while the number of veterans waiting over a year for their benefit applications to be processed has gone up by 2,000 percent. Three bipartisan Senators have written Obama a letter, urging him to take direct action to clear out the backlog, and 65 more Senators signed on.

While the number of suicides among veterans has been skyrocketing in recent years, the average wait time for first-time VA disability claims has stretched to over 316 days. In some places, it’s even longer. In Reno, New York, L.A., Pittsburgh and Indianpolis, the wait is between 600 and 700 days – nearly two years.

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders blasted the VA’s responses to veterans and to Congress as “completely unacceptable.” He said returning veterans deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, not red tape, bureaucracy and years of delay. You know, there aren’t many areas of agreement I have with Sen. Sanders, but on this, he couldn’t be more correct. If there is one area of government where budget cuts should never apply and services should never be compromised, it’s health care for the men and women who put their lives on their lives on the line to defend our freedom.

Comments 1-5 of 5

  • Avelina Joy

    05/06/2013 11:23 AM

    Thank you Mike for posting about the ongoing disrespect for our veterans. My husband served in the Navy for 20 years on submarines. Now that he is retired and needs his benefits they are being slowly but surely taken away. He can't even get hearing aids for the hearing loss he suffers from as a direct result of that service to his country. It is not a benefit provided by the VA or our insurance with TriCare. How do we stop the malignant destruction of the benefits we were promised all those years ago when we kept our promise to honorably serve this great nation?

  • shawn mcalexander

    05/06/2013 10:45 AM

    No soldier should stand in any line for health care and wellness when they have already served on the front line between our families and a bullet nor should they struggle to pull a dollar out of an empty pocket to have that bullet removed or that wound patched and treated. I have a hero that I call brother that got blown up patched shot stitched and shot again . He was wounded and went back and continued to fight both Afghan and Iraq Campaigns was awarded the bronze star and two purple hearts. He came home with six weeks to live due to cancer caused by shrapnel and knocked on my door to tell me while he was there one of my songs stuck with him during the war and he noticed i was from his hometown he looked me up to THANK ME for inspiration and motivation he being a writer as well an Airborne Ranger Sgt Adrienne Andrews told me his story and what my work meant to him. As if it even compared to the sacrifice he made for me to stay so far removed from it all and produce a profound and relative piece that would stretch across miles of ocean and desert and drive him safely through it all and comfort him in the aftermath. My heart sank when he would hobble in to my home broken and twisted for the only meds I had to offer.MUSIC. He wanted me to teach him music and I wanted him to live to play one day.6 weeks wasnt gonna cut it. So Every time the smile fell from his face and the color washed from his cheeks or the phone kept ringing cause he was too sick to answer I told him with some nerve that he didn't have permission ta die. I met Sgt Andrews over a year or so ago. He is alive and plays percussion and harp like a pro. Winning! this war. And he is just now receiving the benefits he needed to stay alive but the power of love saw him through and by the Grace of God the sun shines on him every day now. If we spent more time gathering for fellowship in his name as we did and less time shootin each other I reckon He would spare more lives. What I want ta see is them boys and girls come home and get outta that mess all together but while they still have ta do what a soldier has ta do the least we could offer them is our love... as a reminder of why they volunteered to begin with to defend our life our liberty our freedom ...we need ta ask folks have you hugged your American hero lately ? lets not wait for the next holiday, Every Day IS A GOOD DAY SO LETS DO IT. It MAKES A DIFFERENCE.
    Thanks Mike !
    peace be with you guys

  • Annette Norman

    05/06/2013 10:38 AM

    Thank you for making us aware of this. I worked for the VA at the end of the Vietnam War. Everything was paper applications, but I'm sure with all the technology available now, we should be able to process them much more quickly. God bless our veterans and God bless you for standing up for them.

  • Billy H.Weems

    05/06/2013 10:23 AM

    Right on Sen. Sanders and Rev. Governor Huckabee. As a pastor and Vietnam era vet I say; "Thank You!"

  • Kelli Maddux

    05/06/2013 09:52 AM

    After returning from a year long deployment to Kuwait, I went to the VA to have the emergency root canal filling changed out for a crown. I was told that the expected wait would be over 2 years for the work to be completed. One month later I had to have another emergency root canal done at the VA since it occurred during my coverage time and I couldn't afford one done by my regular dentist at the time. After spending 6 hours in the chair and 7 x-rays later. I was told again that it would be around 2-2.5 years for the cavity in the same tooth to be fixed and the dentist refused to put on a new crown since he drilled through the expensive porcline one I paid for. He just packed it with composite and said, "good to go." I went back to my regular dentist 3 months later he asked me to let him repair the work at cost and he would give me a new crown, since I had other dental issues I agreed. A couple of months after all the dental work was paid for and complete the VA dental clinic called and asked if I wanted an appointment to finish the work in 3 months. I told them that nothing in Heaven or on Earth could make me get treatment there EVER again.

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