Problems Encountered by Veterans Seeking Assistance
Part of the appeal of military service today is the promise and expectation that the soldier, sailor or marine will be well taken care of by the government after military service ends. Many young people assume that the quality care and services reportedly received by their grandparents and great-grandparents who served in World War II are still available from the VA in our day. Unfortunately, recent events have not borne these assumptions out.
Everyone is familiar with the horrific news stories: veterans with shocking wounds and medical conditions having to wait months or years for their disability claims to be approved; veterans waiting months for medical appointments and then having to travel hours to get to them; understaffed and underfunded mental health services; confusing applications and complex procedures; and deplorable conditions in VA hospitals and nursing homes. If you are a veteran or the family member or survivor of a veteran and these stories are all too familiar, learn about your rights and legal options from a veterans’ benefits attorney such as one at Johnston Law Offices P.C. in Edwardsville, IL.
Challenges at the VA
Historically the VA has been considered a caretaker agency for veterans and their families. The relationship between the VA and those it served was not supposed to be adversarial or formal. It has evolved into a giant government entity administering billions of dollars in benefits. Over the years its regulations and procedures have grown more and more complex and confusing. The increase in the needs of veterans of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were thrust upon an unprepared institution without the corresponding increase in funding necessary to meet these needs.
Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans
The particular needs of the veterans of recent wars add to the challenge of delivering adequate services. The nature of the warfare and the stress of long and repeated deployments contribute to a higher and rising rate of mental and emotional disability. Many veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychological trauma, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. Unfortunately, the availability of sufficient VA mental health care has not grown fast enough to meet these needs.
Advancements in combat medical care have saved many veterans’ lives that would have been lost in the past. Many veterans are surviving severe physical wounds and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) to face a lifetime of challenging disabilities. In addition, many veterans face diseases from exposure to toxins or radioactivity on the battlefield. The VA system has not expanded or modernized enough to adequately serve these veterans with novel medical problems.
Far from the initial hope that the VA and the veteran could work together informally to meet the veteran’s needs, today’s veterans’ benefits claims take much care and time to process. The paperwork is detailed and confusing, the nature of the claims is complicated, and the evidence is hard to gather and understand. The need to take the time to sufficiently process claims conflicts with pressure to eliminate a huge backlog. This is, in many cases, a recipe for disaster. Veterans, their families, and their advocates are often disillusioned and desperate for help.
If you are facing the daunting VA system and are having problems securing benefits or services, a veterans’ benefits lawyer from Johnston Law Offices P.C. in Edwardsville, IL, can answer your questions and advise you about next steps.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.