As free Americans, we know the liberties and rights we value every day have come at a cost to the men and women who have served this county. With that in mind, it is usually our hope that our returning veterans receive the care and compassion they deserve when they finally come home. Typically, that care is provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, a new report shows that for an alarming number of veterans, waiting for that care, may have taken a lifetime.
According to a report filed by the VA's inspector general, of the 800,000 veterans' applications pending approval, more than a third of them belonged to deceased individuals. These numbers come after a whistleblower's allegations of mismanagement lead to an investigation of the application process. Not only was the number of backlogged applications appalling, the investigation discovered a number of other equally alarming issues. In one case, an application for care was mislabeled 'pending' for more than a decade, while another application was active in 2014 for a veteran that had died in 1988.
Aside from the actual application process, numerous other issues with management were also found. Problems with maintaining enrollment data, overseeing member records, and software glitches are all among the laundry list of complaints. For returning veterans, there is a five-year window to take advantage of veteran benefits for care, and for some, that have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan, these 'glitches' in the system may have cost them their eligibility.
Many veterans find the process of receiving the care and benefits offered to them quite frustrating. For individuals looking for help deciding if they need additional coverage for long-term care, or to make arrangements and changes to your benefits, retirement or estate, an elder law attorney can help.
Source: CNN, "307,000 veterans may have died awaiting Veterans Affairs health care, report says," Curt Devine, Sep. 3, 2015