Local veterans react to claim backlog

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Posted: Monday, May 13, 2013 5:26 pm | Updated: 9:13 am, Sun Jun 30, 2013.

SARASOTA - Veteran care in our country is facing a serious backlog and the Department of Veterans affairs is coming under fire because of it.  The agency just requested more money for next year's budget but many say despite yearly increases in funding, the issue of processing veterans claims keeps getting worse. 

"I'm a little disappointed in the process that we've been going through," said Charles Jatchel.   For years he's been battling with injuries he received during the Vietnam War and in recent months Jatchel lost one of those battles.  His leg was amputated.  And while that procedure is over, he says he's still fighting to get help.

"In '09 I applied for an increase in my disability due to problems I was having with my gunshot wound in my leg and the amputation of a toe on my left foot."

But 14 years later, Jatchel, who's a Purple Heart recipient, is still waiting for a reply.  "I think it's plenty ample time for the VA to make a response but they haven't," said Jatchel.

And his claim isn't the only one caught up in the back log being processed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

"Over the last several years, the issue has gotten worst and the wait can be over a year for an individual veteran's claim", said U.S Congressman Tom Rooney.

But despite the back log of filings the VA requested $152.7 billion for the 2014 fiscal year, that begins this October.  That's an increase of $2.7 billion over the current year, and just one of many increases.  A situation that has many questioning why the funding increases aren't helping to fix the system.

"When you come and ask for money you need to justify it and let us understand why things are not up to snuff," said Rooney.

In his budget presentation to congress, General Shinseki, the director of the VA, blamed the backlog of claims on the fact that their system is not computerized and all applications are still being done on paper.  The money requested is expected to go towards the system modernizations and hiring new staff.

"I've heard and I've heard that the VA is hiring more people to handle the claims due the increase people returning from Iraq and Afghanistan but apparently its not doing any good," said Jatchel.

And as the department is set to receive next year's funding, local vets say they are looking for change.

"We gave now we should receive a little bit in the way of help," said Jatchel.

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1 comment:

  • JimS posted at 5:50 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    JimS Posts: 1

    "If military action is worth our troops’ blood, it should be worth our treasure, too — not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

    “Why in 2009 were we still using paper?” VA Assistant Secretary Tommy Sowers “When we came in, there was no plan to change that; we’ve been operating on a six month wait for over a decade.” 27 March 2013


    Prior too this present Executive and Veterans Administrations and just touching on the problems:

    Army Times Oct. 16, 2008 - VA claims found in piles to be shredded

    CNN iReport October 25, 2008 - House Vets' Committee To Probe VA Shredder Scandal

    Tampa Bay Times Oct 27, 2008 - Hundreds of VA documents improperly shredded, review finds {Tampa Bay Times search page and series of articles}

    CBS News February 11, 2009 - Veterans' Claims Found in Shredder Bins

    And more disturbing in relation to even before and through the early years of the Afghanistan, quickly abandoned missions of, and Iraq occupations, this:

    ProPublica and The Seattle Times Nov. 9, 2012 - Lost to History: Missing War Records Complicate Benefit Claims by Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans
    "DeLara's case is part of a much larger problem that has plagued the U.S. military since the 1990 Gulf War: a failure to create and maintain the types of field records that have documented American conflicts since the Revolutionary War."

    Add in the issues of finally recognizing in War Theater and more Veterans, by this Veterans Administration and the Executive Administrations Cabinet, what the Country choose to ignore from our previous decades and wars of: The devastating effects on Test Vets and from PTS, Agent Orange, Homelessness, more recent the Desert Storm troops Gulf War Illnesses, Gulf War Exposures with the very recent affects from In-Theater Burn Pits and oh so so much more! Tens of Thousands of Veterans' that have been long ignored and maligned by previous VA's and the whole Country and through their representatives!

    How does a Country HONOR It's Fallen, by Their Own 'Sacrifice' in Taking Care of the Brothers and Sisters They Served With!!

    These present wars have yet to be paid for! Rubber stamping and rapid deficits rising started before 9/11 and continued with same for the wars. But especially in the early some six years of extremely little being added to the Veterans Administration budgets by those Congresses, and since obstructed by same war rubber stampers, as to the long term results of War, DeJa-Vu all over again. Meanwhile the big money individuals and investment firms investors in the defense stocks reaped multi-millions in returns and added to the hoarded wealth, congressional reps were doing insider trading legally! Keeping the VA under budgeted causes problems and of many grow worse, which costs more to correct much more, which is the goal of those seeking to privatize Government Agencies as they attack the people of and which was created by their own incompetence and ideologies, but doing those served will!

    "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." - Abraham Lincoln

    "To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan" - President Lincoln

    USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71


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