The Problem: There has been a lot of talk recently about the quality of care that wounded veteran’s are receiving upon their return from the war front. There are also many veterans who feel they are either not getting the care they deserve, or are not getting a military disability rating they feel they qualify for. The disability rating is very important because it affects the amount of monthly compensation the veteran receives – VA Disability Compensation Table.
The problem is so bad that is a group of war-injured veterans filed a class action lawsuit against the US Government for denying them disability pay and mental health treatment.
The suit claims that numerous VA practices violate the constitutional and statutory rights of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by denying veterans adequate procedural safeguards in the VA benefits process, access to the judicial process, mandated medical care, and VA benefits as a result of their PTSD.
This lawsuit is the first of its kind, and is a reflection of how badly the VA needs additional resources to help cope with the strains put onto the veteran’s health care system. According to the article, there is currently a backlog of over 600,000 disability claims awaiting approval. There are many factors leading to these problems including the fact that the Department of Defense (DoD) and the VA both work toward setting disability ratings. The process can take several months and in some cases well over a year. In the mean time, many troops do not receive any care at all.
For more information, you can read the full complaint.
Possible Solution? Now, for some good news about VA-DoD Reforms. The President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors recently released a report with recommendations to make “fundamental changes” including overhauling the veterans disability system for the first time in more than 50 years. The changes would place all responsibility for determining and awarding disability to the VA.
The bottom line for these efforts:
Disabled service members would see the current confusing, parallel systems of ratings and compensation replaced by a single, simple and more generous system.
If the changes put forth in the recommendations by The President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors take place, disabled veterans would still qualify for VA health care, but any service member found unfit for duty from combat-related injuries also would be eligible for lifetime TRICARE coverage.
The Commission makes many positive recommendations, and hopefully the majority of them will go through. Our nation’s best deserve it. Read the full report here: Serve, Support, Simplify. Report of the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors July 2007.