Delay, Deny, Wait Till I Die: 20,000 Veterans Die Waiting For Their Benefits

Delay, Deny, Wait Till I Die: 20,000 Veterans Die Waiting For Their Benefits

by
Abby Zimet

Thanks to delays, mistakes and bureaucratic ineptitude bordering on cruelty,  about 900,000 veterans and their families nationwide are waiting up to a year and a half to collect benefits they're owed, with more and more dying before the much-needed funds arrive. The Bay Citizen and its parent Center for Investigative Reporting found that almost 19,500 veterans died - World War Two veterans from illness or natural causes to Iraq veterans from suicide - while waiting through the backlog, more than triple that of three years ago. The stories are horrific: James Alderson, an 89-year-old WWll veteran, applied for subsidized nursing home care for himself and his 90-year-old wife, waited through seven months of delays and errors and letters from the VA - “It is our sincere desire to decide your case promptly.... (but) action may be delayed” -  and finally died without receiving anything. A couple of weeks after his death, the VA sent his son a letter announcing they had closed his case.

Update: A new report cites "serious misgivings" about inadequate treatment given to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, half of whom come home facing PTSD, depression and other difficulties.

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