Incompetent delay by the Veterans Administration
As noted before, I have been appointed as guardian (in charge of the physical person) and conservator (in charge of their money) for a number of people. I usually cringe when one of them receives Veterans Administration benefits because (a) in my opinion the VA is the most inefficient agency of the entire Federal Government (one helluva feat) and (b) – probably related to (a) – is that the VA bureaucracy is a pain in the ass to deal with on a good day because the proper form is more important than the proper care. (An exception is the field officers – those who actually visit and work with the Veterans – are dedicated professionals who actually care for their veterans and I have total respect for them)
However, over five years to handle a Veteran’s claim is grossly incompetent and shows a callous disregard for the needs of those who put their lives on the line for our freedoms.
I recently got appointed as guardian and conservator for a 92-year-old WW2 Combat Veteran. Going through his papers I found a recent Board of Veterans Appeals decision related to his service disability benefits that, simply, pissed me off.
The Veteran had a 30% PTSD related service disability rating. He applied for an increase sometime prior to 2010, the regional office denied it October 2010 and an appeal was requested. In April 2012 the Veteran asked to be allowed to testify at the hearing. That hearing was held THREE YEARS LATER in March, 2015. The Veteran, at the young age of 92, wasn’t able to appear.
The good news is the Board of Veterans Appeals ruled in his favor (only 5 months later in August, 2015) and said he should have, at least, a 50% disability rating. They remanded it to the regional office to see if it should be greater; that remand is probably pending since the Veteran – with combination of PTSD, age, and dementia – apparently hasn’t responded to requests for more information.
This much time to process a claim is inexcusable. It harms our veterans. The hell of it is, Congress is well aware of the issues and problems facing the VA and is too damn incompetent to do anything about it.
And this ‘hold your nose and vote’ election coming up? I haven’t heard anything from either candidate or those running for Congress about what they’d do to address the VA’s incompetence. And I seriously doubt they really care.
Raise Hell for our Veterans with all politicians you encounter and vote for those who get results.