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Veterans Face Vast Inequities Over Disability

178 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  enkmom
Remember this when the GOP lines up the mouthpieces about 'supporting the troops' next week when the Democrats roll out their Iraq proposals:

"Staff Sgt. Gregory L. Wilson, from the Texas National Guard, waited nearly two years for his veterans' disability check after he was injured in Iraq. If he had been an active-duty soldier, he would have gotten more help in cutting through the red tape.

"Allen Curry of Chicago has fallen behind on his mortgage while waiting nearly two years for his disability check. If he had filed his claim in a state deploying fewer troops than Illinois, Mr. Curry, who was injured by a bomb blast when he was a staff sergeant in the Army Reserve in Iraq, would most likely have been paid sooner and gotten more in benefits.

"Veterans face serious inequities in compensation for disabilities depending on where they live and whether they were on active duty or were members of the National Guard or the Reserve, an analysis by The New York Times has found."

More here:
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Good background articles on the issues the VA are going to face

VA system ill-equipped to treat mental anguish of war

Stiffing veterans: underfunded V.A. is being overwhelmed by injured soldiers

Discharged and dishonored: Shortchanging America's veterans
Don't even get me started on this subject.
: My FIL served in the army for 30 years and retired 100% disabled. He died two years later in the middle of a month. Would you believe that the VA required my MIL to give back his entire disability/pension check for that month?!?! Thank God, she didn't actually need the check to pay the mortage or buy food, but no one at the VA gave a rat's ass if she did.

After that experience, I'm not the least bit surprised about any bad treatment of soldiers that I hear about.
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The VA before Dubya Inc.'s disastrous adventure in Iraq:

Best practices

"By many measures, VA hospitals and clinics are in fact the best in the country, and they achieve these results while spending 25 percent less per patient than Medicare. Recent studies from the Rand Corporation, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the National Committee for Quality Assurance, a healthcare watchdog organization, ranked the VA system, by a variety of criteria, as better not only than the sort of care offered by Medicare but even the best civilian healthcare plans.

"Phillip Longman, a fellow at the New America Foundation and author of the forthcoming book "Best Care Anywhere: Why VA Health Care Is Better Than Yours," says that among the veterans who rely on the system, "The overall picture is one of overwhelming satisfaction with the care."

"Indeed, the great complaint among veterans today is not about the care they receive in VA hospitals, but about the difficulty of getting into the system in the first place."

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After the invasion/occupation....

Backlogs, long waits plague VA hospital system

"Much as military planners failed to adequately account for the enormous cost -- in lives, money, and time -- of securing Iraq after toppling Saddam Hussein, the VA failed to plan and sufficiently staff for the wave of casualties, and the kinds of injuries that have flowed from the combat zone.

"A Globe review of hundreds of pages of VA memoranda and planning documents, and interviews with present and former agency officials, legislative analysts, and veterans, shows that the VA planned for a short and relatively bloodless war in Iraq, and then was slow to react when the war dragged on and casualties and other claims mounted from 14,000 in 2003 to a projected total of 206,000 this year.

The backlog of disability claims is up to more than 400,000 by the VA's count and climbing. Wait times to process claims are running nearly seven months, on average -- quicker in some places and much longer in others, as Lennon and other veterans have found. In cases where the extent of disability is disputed and an appeal is filed, resolution can take more than two years.

"The rising number and complex nature of medical needs among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are severely testing the VA's sprawling healthcare system."


Planned for the rosiest outcome of the Iraq invasion and was slow to react to when said rosy outcome didn't materialize. It mirrors Dubya Inc.'s leadership to a T.
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This is all anecdotal, so take it for what it is worth. I rode along with my parents to Iowa City for one of his VA visits. He is a Vietnam veteran. He sees an orthopedist (wears an orthotic), a psychiatrist (depression issues dating back to his service), a cardiologist, and a dermatologist (skin rashes that have the hallmark of Agent Orange exposure). He does not have diabetes, which is the last thing that would make him disabled due to Agent Orange exposure. Otherwise, they told him quite bluntly that they have to treat his other symptoms as if they were due to drug abuse, because abuse was so rampant during the war. Laughable, in my dad's case, but I suppose a case could be made for it.

While the doctors were incredibly nice, they were definitely overworked, and rushed through. The support staff were all pissy and overworked, too. They would not even try to schedule at least a couple of his appointments on the same day (he has a 3 hour drive each way), so he needs to visit 4 times in a 6 week period. They also asked very probing questions about his other insurance, and the implication is that they (the bueracracy) are trying to cut the rolls somewhat. They are stretched too thin. I don't blame the flesh and blood people at the hospital, they have so much to do with so little. I do wonder how "The Government" can take so much from so many people, and then conveniently forget about them when they are not needed anymore.
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