In the electronic age overflowing with new gadgets, it’s a wonder why the Department of Veterans Affairs struggles with disability claims and medical records. Even though customers can now order Jimmy John’s sandwiches from their cell phones, the VA still depends on a paper-based system.
Consequently, veterans come home only to continue battling the bureaucracy to earn all of their benefits, from medical care to education to VA loans. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) proposed a bill that advocates creating a website where veterans can find information about their well-earned benefits.
Unfortunately, because of the VA’s dependence on paper, veterans are waiting up to one year before their disability claims are processed. Most veterans end up waiting about four to six months, but the backlog rises as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue. With loads of paper piling up, VA employees sometimes misplace claims that veterans worked hard to produce. To curtail the problem, the Obama administration pitched a 27 percent increase in the VA budget for fiscal year 2011.
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Legislative Conference in March “that by 2015, we will be well on our way to eliminating the backlog.” With four pilot programs in place, the VA aims to strengthen claim arguments and reduce bureaucratic inefficiencies.
Those who serve our country are entitled to the promised benefits as soon as they return, but it appears that the system needs some correcting. Should some of these proposed measures take full effect on the system, injured heroes won’t have to anxiously wait for medical care or jump through hoops to get treated.
There’s another privilege that only 10 percent of the country’s veterans use: VA loans. One of the few no-money-down programs left, the Veterans Affairs Loan Guaranty program is available to qualified active-duty military personnel and veterans. The program packs more financial advantages, including competitive interest rates and 100 percent financing. To find out more about VA loans, contact a VA-certified lender.
Photo thanks to ChuckSimmins under creative common license on Flickr.