Wounded Times

Where Veterans Get Their News

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More bad news for veterans, thanks to Congress

VA backlog continues to mount; no clear solutions in sight
By Leo Shane III
Stars and Stripes
Published: February 26, 2013

WASHINGTON — VA Secretary Eric Shinseki pledged Tuesday that his department will make progress toward ending the benefits backlog this year. House and Senate leaders promised to tackle the issue in upcoming hearings. Veterans groups are lobbying lawmakers this week on the depth of the problem.

But exactly how anyone can fix the mounting headache remains unclear.

As of last week, the benefits backlog – the number of claims pending for more than 125 days – sat above 600,000 cases, up about 7 percent from a year ago. The average claim takes about 270 days to process.

Department officials have offered a host of solutions over the last year, but have no positive trend to show for it. More claims adjusters, different processing methods and closer coordination with veterans groups have yet to pull down the overdue case numbers.
read more here

VA protected from sequester cuts, but veterans will feel the pain
By Leo Shane III
Stars and Stripes
Published: February 26, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs will be spared when sequestration hits March 1.

But veterans will not.

Despite assurances that veterans benefits and services will be exempt from the budget cuts, veterans and their families will share the suffering along with military counterparts. The result could mean more homeless veterans, less help for those looking for work, and tens of thousands of furloughed veteran struggling to make ends meet.

“There’s a very large concern about the secondary effects (of sequestration) on veterans programs nationwide,” said Joe Davis, spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “We still don’t know all the ways veterans might be hurt.”

VA programs and payouts are exempt from the mandated spending cuts. White House and department officials have promised that that disability benefits, veterans education funds and health care services will continue uninterrupted.
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