Legion to Congress: 'Fix the backlog!'

Legion to Congress: 'Fix the backlog!'
Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., hosted a roundtable discussion for VSOs where the consensus was clear: reduce the VA backlog.

The consensus was clear Jan. 20 when Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., hosted a roundtable discussion in Washington with The American Legion and about 40 other veterans service organizations: the staggering backlog of VA disability claims and appeals must be substantially reduced in 2010.

Filner, who chairs the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, listened to VSO representatives as they listed their highest legislative priorities; 32 of them chose the VA claims logjam as the most important issue.

"Beyond that, our key issues cover a spectrum of concerns," said Steve Robertson, director of The American Legion's Legislative Division. "We're addressing - as we always have - the welfare of all veterans." While the claims backlog is the Legion's top legislative concern, it has other priorities as well, including calling upon Congress to work with VA on health care for women veterans, timely access to quality rural health care, and homelessness among veterans and their families.

"Our agenda doesn't end there," Robertson said. "We favor enhancements to the new Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, such as expanding benefits to those in vocational schools. That should be part of the package, as well as some financial tweaks and enhancements."

The American Legion is also pushing for more veterans employment opportunities and training in a time of serious economic downturn. The Legion sponsored or co-sponsored 100 job fairs for veterans last year and continues to press for legislative changes that would facilitate the hiring of more veterans.

In a written document given to Filner's committee before the roundtable session, The American Legion outlined a proposal that would allow VA to bill Medicare and Medicaid for the health care of veterans enrolled in those programs. Robertson said the Legion is also urging Congress to continue and expand long-term VA health care for veterans.

In his written remarks to Congressman Filner, Robertson stated, "Mr. Chairman, The American Legion knows the time challenges facing you and your colleagues in this Second Session of the 111th Congress, but it pales (by comparison) with the real-life challenges faced by veterans and their families."

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs conducts VSO roundtables annually to assess the needs and concerns of military veterans and their families, and to help set agendas for Congress and VA.

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ricardo.gale

February 10, 2010 - 4:50am

I am my fathers next of kin.HE was a WWII veteran, infact one of the umbrella forces of the US Army Corp.He was one of the prisoners of war, fortunately escaped death march. Afterwhich, he suffered and died of peptic ulcer due to his imprisonment. He applied for a claim but was denied several times. My mom did the same, but even until her death, we were denied of the claims because of insufficiency of documents. For years, we got our documents only last 2006, and now we cant apply for any benefit claims because the govt doesnt have funding anymore for beneficiaries.My younger brother died because of malnutrition, I was neglected of education because of financial problem. Overall, my family sufferred thriving times because of the loss of my father. Eversince, we never got anything from VA, not even a penny...I dont think that the US govt were fair to us in the first place.

wymtgrace

February 1, 2010 - 1:37am

My uncle is a 60% disabled veteran with WWII combat service in the Marines & Army service during the Korean Campaign. He bagan suffering from heart palpitations in the late 90's and in 2004 had two major strokes. He always told us not to worry; if he became too ill to take care of himself the VA would be there. They did until this fall when he was re-evaluated; now he doesn't even get prescription coverage. His claim/appeal may last longer than him!

big red 1

January 25, 2010 - 3:43am

i for one thank the american legion for bringing this disgracefull way that us veterans with disabilities are being treated by the va about our claims , they aren't giving us veterans a fair treatment with our claims and it's getting way out of hand this needs to be corrected right away. we put our lives on the line for our country and the va really wants to let some of us veterans die before they approve our claims is this anyway to treat veterans? there's bail out for wall street but nothing

Skull77

January 25, 2010 - 1:24am

When I filed our claim. I sent a notebook that give my life as a soldier. And VA destroyed this and gave me back most of it. So, I requested copies of what was in my file. And got several pages back all mixed up. I'd denie a file that looked like this too. But, this wasn't what I sent to them. Mine was organized and in order. It give the whole picture to them of who I was, not just a soldier that wants a free ride. I'd still be in if my body would of not stopped me. And my injuries. Be strong!

Skull77

January 25, 2010 - 1:16am

Just a thought. I'm getting ready to send a my claim to Peter Gaytan and see if he can move the VA? I've had our claim in for over 6 years. Appeal after appeal or ???? Had a soldier I knew, got hurt, got tossed out, and he fought for 10 years and got awarded 10 years back pay. Even though it was 25 years since he got hurt in the military. Why didn't he get his dues for becoming blind? And now you give him little money to sit and do nothing but see less money to live by. Why? Be Strong!

JERosier

January 22, 2010 - 4:26pm

I'm a Vietnam vet and I filed for the first time in October 2008 for claims. Since then my files have been lossed, claims denied, and are under appeal.I don't now how much longer I will be in existance, but it sure would help if I could get my claims why alive.

Vinny1

January 22, 2010 - 8:38am

I'm a veteran of 111/2 yrs of service with a 40%disability rating. Just to give you a general ideal, Its been about 5 yrs that have a claim pending with an appeal. No one can give me a ball park figure of the status of my claim, and I'm not the only one dealing with this, they should at least keep us posted of the progress. Please congress what is going on. I'm just looking over my welfare and for those veterans that deserve some kind of acknowledgement. Ty.

Skull77

January 25, 2010 - 1:09am

Have you sent a letter to your Senators? And your local Congressman or person? When Bush was in I even got a letter from his secretary to try and help my claim. Have you ever contacted DAV? This is Disabliity Amerian Veterans. I believe this is their name. They can become your voice on your claim, It sounds like. I've Vietnam Veterans and all they seem to do is push papers and request things from me. And somethings we can't get to help our claim. Be strong, Soldier

dmzsgt

January 21, 2010 - 10:05pm

The VA leaders are the one's to either allow this NATIONAL SHAME go on as has been or they can become leaders and fix the broken system. 22page claims application -NONSENSE. Spending thousands to find a way to deny and the months is NONSENSE. Claims are what happened IN THE SERVICE - NOT for what happens in civilian life post-service. Apply laws fairly NOT knowingly ignore/violate laws. VA - VA Jobs are because of vets., NOT vets are the problem. DO YOUR JOBS or continue the NATIONAL SHAME.

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