Target: Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Goal: To guarantee veterans receive benefits and pensions in a timely manner.
Currently, approximately 900,000 veterans have been waiting over nine months to receive a decision in regards to claims for their pensions and disability benefits. Many of them will have to wait up to a year and a half to learn whether or not they will receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Some have been forced to wait so long, in fact, that they never received benefits until after their deaths. According to the agency’s most recent fiscal year, 19,500 veterans have died waiting. Veterans familiar with the long application process and waiting periods have learned the popular phrase, “delay, deny, wait till I die.” These men and women who have dedicated their lives to our country deserve to receive their benefits.
The wellbeing of many veterans and their families depends on receiving pensions and disability benefits. It may be the only source of income for a disabled veteran who is unable to work. Many others depend on the money for medical care of conditions that are the result of their military service. Last year, a Vietnam veteran named John Conrad died of leukemia that he developed as a result of his exposure to Agent Orange, a toxic defoliant used as a war weapon. He was repeatedly denied benefits in the last 3 years of his life despite medical evidence that linked his cancer to Agent Orange. This past November, however, the VA sent a check for $79,000 to his widow with an apology. But it was too little, too late, as the family had already spent their savings and retirement funds on John’s medical treatment, and their home was in foreclosure. Unfortunately John’s story is not an isolated incident; Iraq war veteran Scott Eiswert committed suicide after being repeatedly denied for benefits to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Department for Veterans Affairs is failing the men and women who have loyally served their country. Sign the petition below to tell the VA to grant our veterans the benefits they deserve in a timely manner.
Dear Mr. Shinseki,
The number of veterans awaiting their disability benefits and pensions is unacceptable, and the lengthy wait time is deplorable. These men and women have dedicated their lives to our country, and they deserve to receive their benefits in a timely manner.
For many of the 900,000 veterans waiting approval, receiving benefits is their only hope for medical treatment and providing for their families. They are currently living with health issues that are directly related to their military service, such as cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder. The current waiting period for many veterans is up to a year and a half, a time period that is far too long for elderly or ill individuals. Last year 19,500 veterans died while waiting for approval of their applications. We owe it to them as a country to care for them in their time of need.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is letting down the brave men and women who served in the armed forces. These individuals did not fail to carry out their duties. Their dedication to preserving our freedoms has not wavered. They have protected the lives of Americans without question. At the very least, we ask that you streamline the approval process and ensure all veterans receive what they deserve before it is too late.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: JMSuarez via Wikimedia Commons