SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

May 27, 2013

Military veterans can't keep waiting

(Continued)

According to published investigative reports, Florida is not among the worst states for backlogs, but with 1.6 million veterans residing in the Sunshine State, it is one of the most seriously affected by the problem at the VA.

Eric Shinseki, the retired four-star general who runs the VA, has promised to end the backlog by 2015, but that’s not enough. The organization should set benchmarks for completing the task and report to the public on whether they are being met.

It is particularly frustrating for younger veterans to try to deal with a system that still functions under rules and processes developed decades ago in which obtaining health records can be a lengthy process. The sooner that an integrated digital health system can be put in place, the sooner that veterans can have their claims adjudicated.

As the younger veterans age in the coming decades, the number of those applying for disability benefits will only grow. It’s past time to stop putting veterans in backlog limbo. They answered the call when America went to war. Now it’s time for their country to be there for them.

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