They had sacrificed their lives to defend democracy and the political interests of America.
But many American veterans, who fought in foreign countries, are beginning to feel the negative impacts of the federal government's neglect over their claims of benefits that are supposed for them. Sadly, they urgently need these benefit claims when many of them are disabled physically and mentally.
This report was based on a segment on US veterans aired Sunday (Jan. 3, 2010) on 60 Minutes. CBS correspondent Byron Pitts said that millions of US veterans of foreign wars have been denied benefit claims by the Department of Veterans Affairs, a federal government agency that is supposed to protect them in time of need.
"There is a saying in the military that no one should be left behind. But the Department of Veterans Affairs had left them behind," the 60 Minutes segment said.
An ranking official at the DVA said that before a veteran can claim benefits should prove that the disability claim was service-connected. At present, some 400,000 claims filed by those who are veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan wars, remain pending. Veterans said they are not proud of what the DVA is doing right now.
According to them, the DVA, which has leadership problem, has at least a million pending claims that need action and approval. This is because most of the DVA employees are not performing their jobs well.
Worse is that If a veteran does not agree with a veteran's claim, he has to wait for another four years before his claim can be acted upon. But there is no assurance yet that it would be approved.
The complexities of reconciling veterans' records against that of the DVA are in a mess so that putting the system in place makes it doubly difficult for both parties to iron out the kinks and meet halfway. This is the biggest problem that now hounds the benefit claims of veterans of foreign wars with the federal government. And a great number of them are left out in the cold.