Sunday, September 4, 2016

Vietnam Veteran Sent Wrong Medical Records by Congressman?

Reminder, none of this is new. Vietnam veterans have been fighting to have their claims honored since the 80's, stood in lines, fought backlog of claims and all of this, when no one was paying attention. Now that it seems as if everyone is paying attention, no one is doing anything to change what has been happening all along.

My husband's claim was filed in 1993. It took six years to get approved. We heard all the speeches and promises but had to live with the reality of members of Congress breaking all the promises they made to take care of our veterans.

One more reminder is Congress has jurisdiction over the VA budget, rules and laws. They don't like to remind anyone of that so if you member of Congress has been in longer than 2 years, ask them why they didn't fix all this before. It isn't as if they didn't know what was going on.
Vietnam veterans struggle to navigate VA system
Victoria Advocate
By Laura Garcia
September 3, 2016
He was upset that the congressman’s office accidentally mailed him medical documents that belonged to two other individuals.
Vietnam veteran Weldon Holmes came back from the war 46 years ago,
but has long fought with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Photo by Rugile Kaladyte.

Weldon Holmes, 67, clenches and unclenches his fists as he tries to figure out what exactly he wants to say.

He wants to tell his story and for someone to listen.

But he also wants change.

For at least the past 14 years, the Vietnam veteran has struggled to get through the bureaucracy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Holmes is one of more than 440,000 veterans in the country with pending appeals that need to be resolved by the Veterans Benefits Administration.

The average wait time is three years, according to a press statement by VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald earlier this year. And for the appeals that reach the Board of Veteran Appeals, the wait is at least five years with thousands of cases lasting much longer.

McDonald said the VA needs resources to create a simplified appeals process that would enable the department to resolve appeals in a reasonable time frame. He said the backlog of claims has been reduced to 82,000 from a peak of 611,000 in March 2013.

But to veterans like Holmes, who are still waiting, this offers little consolation.

Some days Holmes is hopeful, and other days he can’t hide his anger from boiling over.
read more here

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