Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

July 5, 2013

THEIR VIEW:A fix overdue for VA waits

By President Barack Obama's own standards, veterans shouldn't have to wait more than 125 days to hear a resolution on a disability claim sent through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

But according to a recent accounting from the Department of Veterans Affairs, two-thirds of the outstanding claims — more than a half-million — are running longer than that 125-day standard.

Closer to home, things get worse, as pointed out in a June 24 account by Gannett Washington Bureau reporters Maureen Groppe and Gregg Zoroya.

At the Indianapolis VA Regional Office, 77 percent of the claims were overdue.

Worse, claims were taking an average of 370 days to handle. That's just shy of three times what the administration says is acceptable. And it's the sixth worst rate among the VA's 58 regional offices.At a time when Congress can barely agree on anything, two-thirds of the U.S. Senate and a third of the members of the U.S. House have signed letters to Obama, demanding that that administration get serious about handling the VA caseload.The VA problems didn't happen overnight or completely under Obama's watch.But the bottlenecks have become increasingly worse as veterans come away from tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.Congress is pressing the president on this, as it should.At some point, the administration will figure out that the VA's slow response is an abrogation of the implicit promise the country made to the men and women who served. That simply isn't right.— Journal & Courier, Lafayette

THE ISSUE Response time for veteran disability claims THEIR VIEW Those who served our country shouldn't be given the runaround

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