You want a truly bipartisan outrage? Consider the abysmal and
ongoing treatment of the nation’s veterans by the Department of
Veterans Affair (VA), which was made a cabinet-level agency in
It doesn’t seem to matter much which party runs the White House
or Congress. Despite
an annual budget around $90 billion, the agency continues
to do terrible work when it comes to taking care of the men and
women who fight the government’s wars. And after a decade-plus of
fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are 2 million recent
Here’s a Reason TV video that explores what’s wrong at VA,
who gets hurt the most, and what can be done to make things better.
Original release date: November 10, 2013.
Over the last 12 years, more than two million Americans have
been deployed to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. But for thousands
who return home with injuries, another battle is just
beginning – this time, with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs
Upon enlistment, service members are promised that, should a
service-related injury occur, the US government will provide them
with care and financial compensation. The VA is responsible
for providing this care but have been unable to render these
services in a timely manner. The average wait time for a veteran to
receive his or her benefits is one year.
President Obama sounded the alarm during a speech in August
2010, stating that it was the country’s “moral
obligation” to provide veterans with timely compensation.
Under VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, the Obama administration promised
that all claims would be processed within 125 days and with a 98
percent accuracy rating by the year 2015.
Despite Obama’s speech, the backlog continued to grow, reaching
a peak of nearly
900,000 pending claims with 70 percent backlogged in March
of 2013. This past August, the numbers dipped slightly: nearly
800,000 pending claims with 63 percent backlogged.
The administration points to the August numbers as a sign of
improvement, but reports of
processing errors reveal a poor quality
of work, with mistake in 30 percent or more of the claims
that they process. Unfortunately for those waiting for assistance,
when a mistake is made, the veteran must appeal. Once an appeal is
filed, the average waiting time for the veteran is another four
About 4 minutes.
Produced by Amanda Winkler. Camera by Joshua Swain and Winkler.
Narrated by Todd Krainin.
For more links, resources, and downloadable versions,
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/16/it-takes-about-one-year-for-dept-of-vete