Veterans in Texas and around the country are continuing to deal with extremely long delays in the Veteran's Administration process for evaluating benefits applications. At the end of the year, it was taking 262 days to process a claim on average, but many have waited even longer, some upwards of a year.
The wife of one veteran struggling with a disability from his time in the service has taken to YouTube to voice her frustration with the system and to try to gain public support for ending the backlog. In one video, she says that the lack of treatment and slow processing times is a contributing factor to the high rate of veteran suicide. She pointed out that at the time her husband originally applied for benefits their child was only six weeks old. When she made the first video, their child was almost two years old.
A spokesperson from the Veteran's Administration acknowledged the backlog, explaining that their efforts to expand benefits to those in need has only made the backlog bigger, despite agency efforts towards efficiency. One major hope for resolving the backlog is switching to an electronic system, but that won't provide full relief for those waiting until 2015, which is a long time for Texas veterans suffering from a brain injury or living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The woman who made the YouTube videos correctly pointed out that not every veteran has someone in their family with the skills, time, or ability to continue to pursue the claim with the VA. She said that her husband grew despondent and gave up fighting for his benefits long ago, and that for many of the brave men and women who have served our country that would be the end of the process. This is one reason why it can be helpful to work with an attorney experienced in veteran's benefits claims.
Source: NPR, "For Veterans, The Wait For Disability Claims Grows Longer" Quil Lawrence, Dec. 27, 2012
Our Houston law firm assists with a variety of government benefits applications, including those for veteran's benefits. More information is available on our VA benefits page.