There are hundreds of thousands of homeless veterans sleeping in shelters, in alleys and along creek banks tonight. Many are Gulf War and Iraq veterans. Too many.
The following story caught my interest. It makes the point that the claims process of the VA is much of the cause of it. Too long. Much too long.
From the war front to the back of line
By Ron Harris
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
WASHINGTON – Allen Curry served a year in Iraq before being medically discharged for a bulging disc, nerve damage and mental problems that left him unable to work. But nearly two years after he applied for disability benefits, he’s still waiting for an answer from the Department of Veterans Affairs. A former Chicago postal worker, Curry was a driver and staff sergeant who saw plenty of action in 2003-04: His convoy was ambushed more than once, and he was involved in a number of firefights.
But Curry, 47, hasn’t seen a paycheck in 14 months, and he’s beginning to wonder about his country’s commitment to veterans. “People say, ‘Support the troops,’ but I don’t think they really care,” he said. He’s not alone. Tens of thousands of returning veterans who are unable to work because of mental and physical ailments from the war are struggling to make ends meet as they wait for the VA to decide their claims. The average wait has grown from two months to six, according to VA officials, and is much longer in some states.
Stan Baughn, director of veterans service through the Missouri Veterans Commission, a state agency that assists veterans with disability claims and other issues, said he and his staff are concerned about the time to process claims. “If a person is injured to the point that they are unemployable, six months can be devastating to them,” Baughn said.
(Italics mine for emphasis)
The problems are compounding every day. Our returning veterans are not being treated like heroes should be treated. Shame on us for worrying about many of the wrong things. We need to correct this disgrace. Now
Heroes don’t deseve to be treated like this
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