The common question around the disabled veteran community is, “Where’s our due compensation?”
Due to a backlog and influx of disability claims filed with the Department of Veteran Affairs, military members both new and old are waiting months, sometimes years, for their pension payments.
This waiting period has caused great economic problems among the veteran community—unemployment, debt, foreclosure and homelessness.
Although these problems are not only unique to veterans, the rise in foreclosure and unemployment rates among them has caused great alarm.
The problem is only intensified when statistics show that employers hire non-veterans substantially more. Why? Military members returning home from war do not have many prior job skills.
On the other hand, some veterans are 100% disabled. They would be eligible for over $2,500 a month from the VA. However, it takes more than three months to see that money. In that time, bills and other financial obligations can burden and divide an injured veteran’s family.
Unfortunately, the wait does not look like it will get better any time soon. Over 400,000 claims have yet to be reviewed and processed, according to VA officials. That number continues to grow as more and more military members are returning home with PTSD, amputated limbs and other serious disabilities.
In an effort to address the economic trials of Veterans, Congress has enacted a couple of new legislations. They are also reviewing proposed bills. One such legislation no longer allows lenders to automatically foreclose on military members homes. If a veteran is just returning from overseas, lenders must give them a nine-month to a year forbearance period.
Meanwhile, the VA is also proposing ways in which the process could be faster. Secretary Shinseki of the VA recently wrote the “The Veteran Benefit Programs Improvement Act of 2011.”
In it, he suggests that the legal jargon used in pension proceedings be simplified. In addition, he recommends that education and other benefit deadline be extended. One of the more controversial areas of the bill is that veterans not have to pay legal fees until their appeal cases are won. People fear that lawyers will not want to represent veterans in appeals if such a bill were enacted.
Congress has taken other steps, such as cutting down on the documentation needed for disability applications. However, the road to repairing the life quality of disabled veterans is still proves to be far off.