As a member of the military, it can be bad enough being deployed far from home. Something a soldier never wants to think about is coming home injured; be it physically, mentally or emotionally. However, the hardest part seems not to be the healing wounds, but the endless frustration of having to deal with the Department of Veterans Affairs as a result. Because of lack of adequate staffing and budgets, it can take years for a Veteran to finally receive the care they need.
Army Specialist Daniel Foster knows these issues very well. A Silver Star and Purple Heart recipient, was injured in Afghanistan in May 2010 while thwarting a suicide bomb attack on his base, preventing harm to his fellow 22 soldiers. The most obvious injury: loss of teeth and jawbone, but also suffers from knee pain, back issues, hearing loss, memory loss, and PTSD. Almost 2 years later, he has yet to receive adequate care.
Dan is only one of many Veterans receiving this dragging response for treatment. In fact, the majority of Veterans have to deal with care this way. Forms that have to be submitted, then re-submitted, then often lost. They are told conflicting information on how to proceed next. And this is only scratches the surface.
Members of the Military lay their life on the line to help keep the rest of us safe, the least we can do is give them a speedy process for recovery.
Dan has also received assistance from Deanne Tate and Veterans First of Orange County. This is a community-based charity that works to provide housing and essential services to our homeless and at-risk veterans and their families as well as to the families of our deployed military. Deanne herself has helped steer Dan in the right direction in order to get try to get his VA affairs in order.
We hope that with spreading Dan’s story, we can spread awareness to an inefficient Veterans Affairs System. If you’d like to send an email on Dan’s behalf. please contact California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, or your local House Representative.
Need help to with what to write? We got you covered.
Dear Rep. XXXXX:
I respectfully request that you urge your fellow members of Congress to bring about hearings or legislation during the next legislative year to clear up the bureaucratic red tape within the VA, in order to assist our veterans to receive the benefits they have earned from their service protecting our freedoms.
Over the past several weeks, there have been various news stories regarding the difficulties our nation’s veterans have had in navigating the bureaucracy of the Veterans Administration (VA). Many of these brave men and women who have served have seen their cases and claims take up to a year or more to process due to the overwhelming backlog.
In addition to the backlog, some of our veterans have had their cases end up in VA benefits offices in other parts of the country; far away from where the veteran resides, or having their service connected disability ratings assessed at a far lower rating than expected. With all the red tape that our military members have to go through, many of them get frustrated with the process and essentially walk away, letting the benefits earned from their service and in many cases sacrifices for our country languish in a bureaucratic limbo.
As we begin to see draw downs in our forces, first in Iraq this year and Afghanistan in the next couple of years, the VA will begin to see a major influx of new cases and claims to process. If the current path for our returning veterans to receive benefits is not overhauled, we could see many of our heroes end up going without these much-needed services and benefits for more than a year. In these difficult times, this can mean the difference between a successful postwar transition to civilian life or at worst, a veteran possibly joining the ranks of homeless and at-risk veterans which accounts for one-third of the United States’ homeless population.
I appreciate you and your staff for taking the time to look into this issue affecting our veterans and hope that positive changes can be made to assist our brave men and women.
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