In an address to disabled veterans, President Obama announced that the backlog of disability claims was shrinking. At the Disabled American Veterans annual meeting earlier this year, Obama stated that the backlog of disability benefits claims had shrink by as much as 20 percent in the past five months. But, he conceded, a new wave of claims was coming in to the Veterans Administration. Some of those claims are from service members who served in
Vietnam and are looking for
care for ailments they believe stem from their decades-past exposure to Agent Orange,
as well as veterans most recently returned from Iraq
with traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and physical injuries. Afghanistan
"Any efforts to decrease the extensive backlog of disability claims are greatly needed and appreciated," commented James Fausone, a veterans disability attorney. "Many of the service members who have filed disability claims have been waiting for a shockingly long time just to get their claims processed, much less disbursed."
The White House is committed to boosting the amount of spending available for vet services to attend to their education and job prospects as well as the physical and mental health and homeless issues so many vets face, Obama said. There is also a push to better support additional hiring of vets at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and increase overtime pay to clear up the backlog of claims.
According to the VA, 64 percent of claims still pending are supplemental claims filed by vets asking for additional benefits. Though the sequestration cuts took effect in March 2013, veteran spending was exempted, allowing funding to go to decreasing the countless disability benefits currently backlogged at the VA. Obama stated that Congress needed to work together to reduce the deficit and to keep the promises of support ad benefits to veterans.
Though World War I's last
died more than two years ago, Obama said to the 34,000 attendees, survivor
benefits are still going to the descendants of the men who fought then, and in
the Spanish-American War. Benefits are even going to a Civil War veteran's
daughter. Benefits will also be going to the descendants of this wave of
service people. U.S.