Disabled vets are still waiting too long for medical benefits.
InSeattle,Washington, 25,000 disabled vets are still waiting to receive medical benefits. According to a new report, it could take a year or more for those benefits to be processed.
Claims by disabled vets to the Veterans Administration have at least tripled throughout theU.S. since 2010, and the influx ofIraq andAfghanistan returning home has helped to overburden the already-strained disability benefits system. Adding to the mix is a new, electronic medical and service record system.
“There are at least 2.1 million claims for vets currently pending before the Veterans Benefits Administration,” commented veterans disability attorney James Fausone. “These men and women deserve to better supported be by their government, and not have to wait an egregiously long time for basic benefits to which they are entitled.”
One such vet who is still trying to get his benefits is Seattle-based Aaron Bisol, who says his wait has lasted, at last count, more than 505 days. Bisol completed two tours inAfghanistanas part of the airborne infantry, and sustained a leg injury and damage to his hearing while serving. He filed his medical claims with the Veterans Administration in October 2011, and has yet to begin receiving his benefits. When he calls the VA 1-800 number, he says that he typically waits on hold for two hours before speaking with someone.
A study recently released by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that the wait nationally for vets is 273 days, on average. The time can vary by state:Seattle vets wait an average of 323 days; andNew York City vets can wait as long as 600 days for their benefits. Even the assistant supervisor of Seattle Disabled American veterans, Greg Kotanchick, had to wait for four years for his claim to go through after hisPersian Gulf service. Kotanchick has stated that he , too, believes the new electronic records system is likely to blame for the long processing time.
The VA has stated that it anticipates the two-year backlog of claims will be cleared within 90 days once the system is fully operational and running at top speed.