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Shinseki says VA on target for ending backlog

Associated Press


WASHINGTON >> VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is standing by his commitment to end the disability claims backlog by 2015.

Veterans receive disability compensation for injuries or illness incurred during their active military service. About 600,000 claims, or 70 percent of all claims, are considered to be in backlog. The number of claims pending for more than 125 days has nearly quadrupled under his watch.

Shinseki told CNN's "State of the Union" that 10 years of war and efforts to make it easier for veterans to collect compensation for certain illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder have driven the backlog higher during his tenure. He said that doing away with paper records will be the key to a turnaround.

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Mythman wrote:
The good general has been saying this since he took over the VA.
on March 24,2013 | 04:27AM
kahuku01 wrote:
Oh yeah! The good general has not lobbied for all the RETIRED VETERANS that are compensated 10 to 40% service connected disability. For as long as veterans have been receiving service connected disability, RETIRED VETERANS (10-40% disability) forfeit every dollar from their retired pay to compensate themselves for their own service connected disability. It is unjust and discriminating for Congress to mandate this act while all NON-RETIRED Veterans are compensated for their service connected disability directly from the Department of Veterans Affairs. While serving, defending and fighting for their country, veterans didn't execute these things with conditions and they deserve the respect and dignity for serving this great nation. It is definitely wrong for congress to implement conditions when it pertains to concurrent pay. As President Obama said. "We should be all on the same playing field." H.R. 303: Retired Pay Restoration Act should be acted on by congress as rapidly as possible and make it right.
on March 24,2013 | 05:15AM
localguy wrote:
Mythman and kahuku01 fail to realize Eric, while in charge of the VA and a disabled vet himself, is still at the mercy of our clueless, dysfunctional congress, the ones who pass the laws Eric has to work with. He has no control over disability guidelines and how much money a vet will get. Want to blame someone, aim your sights on congressional bureaucrats. The very ones who are still receiving a full paycheck and all benefits while civilian federal workers are taking a pay cut, not to be paid back, and military members who are also having their benefits cut back. Congress is directly responsible for tens of billions of dollars of wasted tax dollars from their kowtowing to special interest groups, anyone who throws a few dollars in front of them. Congress is the biggest joke in the USA, known around the world as the "Keystone Cops"
on March 24,2013 | 06:51AM
coco96734 wrote:
yes indeed!
on March 24,2013 | 07:30AM
kahuku01 wrote:
IRT localguy: I agree with you about the unjust and discriminating act by CONGRESS towards the RETIRED VETERANS for their evaluated service connected disability that is deducted from their hard earned retired pay. I realize that Eric is at the mercy of our worthless congress but I had hoped that as a retired veteran and a top general, he would at least lobby for all the retired veterans that concurrent pay for every retired veteran would become just and H.R. 303 be passed by congress so that retired vets would be treated with respect and dignity. Congress is directly responsible for tens of billions of dollars of our tax dollars that is funneled to foreign countries but yet are able to cut the DOD budget and not take care of the problems at home. Yes, I agree with you, Congress is the biggest joke and these senators should have a limited (2 terms) time in office like the Representative and President.
on March 24,2013 | 07:31AM
localguy wrote:
I would love to see an 8-year term limit for anyone in Congress. After that, you are prohibited from ever working for the US Government in any capacity, lobbyist, contractor, volunteer, any job. You did your time, now go find a new job, thank you for your service. No special after job pay or bennies, take your 401k and be gone. Don't let the door hit you in the O kole.
on March 24,2013 | 07:40AM
Charliegrunt wrote:
You forgot the bureaucracy that undercuts him. A lot of the delay is caused by the games that the VA bureaucracy plays. I've spent over two years fighting for a claim for pulmonary fibrosis (scar tissue on both lungs from Agent Orange). It has been denied and now being decided by a Decision Review Officer. In my Notice of Disagreement, I informed the VA that they failed in their mission as described by Abraham Lincoln, "To care for those who have borne the battle, his widow and orphan." They have also failed to follow their own regulations. "When there is doubt the finding should be found in favor of the claimant." "The VA will obtain all medical records and medical opinions requested by the claimant." All tests conducted by my pulmonary specialist were provided to them. They only gave me one chest x-ray. They sent me to a contract doctor of internal medicine rather than a pulmonary specialist for an evaluation. They repeatedly ignored my request to obtain a medical opinion from my pulmonary doctor. I finally had him send them one, which supported my claim, but it did not have any affect on their latest decision. Like they say, "It takes an Act of God to fire a federal civil service civilian." Now, I'm prepared to add a report by Admiral Zumwalt that they used 5 to 6 times the dosage of Agent Orange that was prescribed.
on March 24,2013 | 08:07AM
DABLACK wrote:
Agree !! When asked how many troops were needed to go into Irag....them civilians did not agree. We got smashed over there !! Now he heads the VA and the civilians still doing their thing to suppress him. Why is that ?? Our country's enemies are waiting for us to self-destruct by creating little "incidents" to throw the congress off track. We must not permit this. Shinseki has some good ideas and he'll need the support from the congress......don't know if he'll get it. The veterans must be taken care of. The congress are the ones that'll give us the "shaft" !
on March 24,2013 | 07:20AM
cojef wrote:
The poor guy got nominated for the most thankless job in the entire bureaucracy, serving wounded veterans. Yes at the whims of Congress, funding amounts are not portioned on the basis of actual needs, but are pulled out from some strange place in the sky by the Congress. I remember before the Iraqui war, due to my claim being filed late, coverage was denied because, it would have exceeded the amount of funds that had been allocated to the VA by Congress. Most of the blame was mine, as I dilly-dallied in submitting my claim. My other WWII buddies got their coverages because they filed within the narrow limits that was allowed. Could have saved me a bundle,my fault, too bad!
on March 24,2013 | 08:29AM
kennysmith wrote:
on March 24,2013 | 08:13AM
Mythman wrote:
The VA is dishonorable, Gen Shinseki is a honorable man. I served and expected nothing in return, which is pretty much exactly what I got. The ordinary law of torts doesn't apply when it comes to a government tort, that's clear.
on March 24,2013 | 09:15AM
kennysmith wrote:
to the person TO THE PERSON YOU ARE 100% RIGHT they don't tell the truth to no one.
on March 24,2013 | 12:29PM
Ronin006 wrote:
VA has the tremendous backlog in processing claims for two major reasons. The principle one is that veterans now can and do claim benefits for almost any reason and claim it is due to post traumatic stress from some real or imagine event while on active duty. Benefits include free medical care and disability compensation. Can’t sleep, can’t hold a job, can’t balance check book, can’t get along with wife and other relatives, erectile dysfunction, trouble with the law, using drugs, excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages, you name it – all so-called symptoms of PTSD and justification for filing claims for VA benefits. The other reason for the backlog is Agent Orange, a defoliant used in Vietnam. Despite no credible evidence from the medical science community that Agent Orange was the cause of any particular disease, political pressure from Congress resulted in VA to list dozens of diseases as “presumptive diseases” associated with Agent Orange. The diseases are no different than diseases suffered by non-veterans, but there is a difference for Vietnam vets. The difference is that when someone who served in Vietnam in the 1960s or 1970s is diagnosed with one of the presumptive disease today, more than 40 years later, the veteran can file a claim for VA benefits. The backlog problem really was caused by Congress over many years by wanting to show its support for veterans and pressuring VA to extend benefits for almost any reason, even when there is no credible evidence the claimed disease is service connected. When there is doubt, it usually is resolved in the veteran’s favor. Before any reader bashes me as being anti-veterans, I am a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars and commanded infantry units in combat.
on March 24,2013 | 10:23AM
kennysmith wrote:
YOU TO ARE 100% RIGHT TO.i like you for this.
on March 24,2013 | 12:31PM
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