Leadership: Veterans Oppose Congressional Scam

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May 5, 2007: Veterans groups are opposing a proposed new law that would attempt to deal with the backlog of disability claims. Congress proposes to pay out some benefits immediately, as soon as the claim is followed, and make any needed adjustments after the claim is checked out. Currently, there are over 600,000 claims awaiting review. Many claims are from elderly World War II and Korea vets, who may die of old age before their claims are reviewed. The veterans groups oppose the law because it would encourage false or spurious claims, and attract outright criminal activity. This would divert money to scammers, leaving veterans with legitimate needs high and dry.

The veterans groups base their fears on the enormous fraud that has been inflicted on disability benefits, health insurance and social security over the last few decades. What the veterans groups want is for the Veterans Administration (VA) to get their act together and deal with their inability to process claims in a timely fashion. The politicians, however, just want to throw money at the problem, to make it go away for a while.

The veterans groups know that the VA can do better, because it's no secret that in some parts of the country, the local VA office is much more effective in getting claims taken care of. For example, in some Midwestern areas, only about seven percent of claims take six months or more to deal with. But in some large cities, over 40 percent of claims take six months or more. It's all about the quality of the local VA personnel. In some parts of the country, the VA has long been used as a place for politicians to put loyal followers in key jobs. Then again, this kind of patronage politics is more prevalent in some parts of the country than in others. Note that the VA office with the worst claims record (63 percent take six months or more) is Washington, DC.

 


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