According to the Veterans Administration, the backlog for medical claims is long, although they are trying to fix the situation. However, a Texas television station claims to have uncovered some startling facts. According to veterans who were interviewed, they often have to wait years, or even decades, after filing appeals before they can begin to receive benefits. While most expect to be denied after applying for the first time, they do not anticipate having to wait as long as they do.
Many Americans believe that veterans will be cared for by their country, especially if they became ill or injured as a result of their service. The long waits for VA benefits is not only disappointing, but also discouraging for those who served in the armed forces. Many veterans believe that their claims expire once they die, but according to one attorney, a spouse has one year in order to step in and continue the claim.
There are many cases where surviving spouses failed to pick up the claims or gave up out of exasperation or frustration. The length of the claims process depends upon the details of the claim. One woman said that her husband became ill after he returned from Vietnam. She continues to fight for his benefits, even though he died in 1991.
Veterans and their spouses may not be receiving the aid to which they are entitled for health-related illnesses. Unfortunately, navigating the guidelines for filing VA claims can be confusing. Sometimes, those attempting to file claims may look to an attorney for guidance, especially if they have had little or no success on their own.
Source: CBS DFW, “Veterans Dying Waiting On Disability Benefits“, Mireya Villarreal, November 22, 2013