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Article published March 22, 2013
Expedite vets’ claims
James H. Matson Butler
The world news recently, and finally, did a report on the backlog of veterans disability claims. There are 900,000 claims waiting to be settled; some have been waiting for two years. I have had a claim in the works for 12 years. My claim has been bounced from one agency to the other — from the regional office to the Bureau of Veterans Affairs to the Appeals Management Center and back to the regional office. It’s a nightmare, and there’s no help to be had anywhere. My American Legion representative just says “wait and see.” Congressman Mike Kelly’s office was powerless; I gave up on it completely. Trying to call different government agencies is a complete waste of time. You spend all your time lost in their “telephone trees,” going from one option to the other, never getting to talk to anyone directly. Our local county veterans representative has no interest in helping me. Now, it’s reportedly been decided that any new veterans claims that involve possible suicide or injury to another person will go to the head of the line, putting cases like mine back even further. I served my time. I was discharged honorably. I was promised support. My disabilities are real, and also debilitating. Sometimes I think veterans officials just bump cases around, hoping us vets will die of old age. That would be the cheap and easy way out. I think it’s an insult to all of us vets that we are honored two days out of each year, and treated like nobodys the other 363 days.