2014-08-04 12:20:00 - White House Panders to Those Who Paid Nothing Yet Alienates Veterans Who Have?
Being one that has been following two major problems facing the Nation over the last few weeks; the massive illegal immigration problem, and the plight of the US Veterans in their fight to obtain their “promised” VA disability benefits, I wish to put forth my feelings.
And in I must say, although I have been personally touched by the inefficiency of the government in it’s ability to handle the immigration issues, and to do all it possibly can to “Protect” the legal citizens of the USA, by stopping the flow of undocumented individuals to continue to “Flood” across the border unabated, nor coming up with and immediate process to begin to deport those here illegally, I am totally appalled with the
lackadaisical manner in which the President, the “Commander and Chief’, has managed to continue to side step , and to virtually ignore thousands of veterans in dire need of their earned disability benefits,, and take the steps necessary to implement an immediate “Fix” to this problem.
It shocks me, how quickly the House of Representatives worked on the first day of their vacation to pass bills in an attempt to block the presidents questionable move around the constitution to grant millions of “Illegal” individuals now residing within the nation work permits that would allow them to remain in the country, and yet in a matter as vital, and pressing as veterans disability claims, it seems the House and the president himself seem impervious.
However, this is a problem that is so dire, the majority of the U.S. Senate formulated, and sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Friday, requesting his "direct and public involvement" in fixing the disability claims backlog plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Their letter goes on to mention that during this four year period, Congress has granted the VA virtually everything it has asked for, IE; more funding and employees. However, even as Congress supplied their needs, this has done nothing to eliminate the tremendous, and pressing backlog of claims.
I find it totally unacceptable, that over the last four years, despite an increase of 40% in the VA’s budget, the number of pending claims has increased by whopping 2000% plus!
Moreover, this is not a matter that is pressing for our current ranks of veterans, NO, this is a matter that is critical to past generations of veterans as well. And, the Senators make a strong point of this in their statement of; “We need a direct and public involvement from you to establish a clear plan to end the backlog once and for all!”
Not only are our veterans stuck in the backlog of government bureaucracy after serving their country faithfully, and dutifully, the wait is an average of 316 and 327 days for first time filings. Moreover, it can be far higher in major cities across the US, in fact, it can be as much as 642 days for veterans awaiting their benefits in New York City.
The Veteran’s administrations excuse; their “Archaic” system of paper filing as a big glitch in the wheel of moving the claims along. However, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is hoping to convert the records over to an electronic system.
This is one other area that is very worrisome to me. Why is it, in a nation as technologically advanced as the USA, where the majority of firms record their records in electronic files, and have been for some years, is a huge, and extremely vital government agency as the VA, just now looking at storing their records electronically?
This overt miscarriage of responsibility owed to our veterans, and in particular, by the President of the country they took a solemn oath to serve, can be summed up in the following statement issued by Thomas Bandzul, a legal consul at the Veterans and Military Families for Progress as told to the Daily Beast in April, and I quote, “It’s time the president takes full responsibility for this failure, and takes action. This is happening on his watch.”
Now, although the White House has recently said that the president believes reducing the backlog is a “national priority,” and has proposed an additional 13.6 percent increase in funding earmarked for handling veterans benefits, it remains to be seen. So far it seems that this president is one that is long on promises, and short on action.
However, I for one, do hope, for the sake of veterans currently awaiting a decision on their well-deserved, and desperately needed benefits, as well as the waves of future veterans that will, as history has shown us, be in need, truthfully hope the president will place this situation high on his priority list, and finally take the needed action.
In closing, I want to thank all veterans, both past, and present, for their service, and ask that they continue to believe in the foundation that our once great nation was founded on.
LtCol. D. A. Anderson