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Should the VA Change the Way It Looks at Appeals? | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

Should the VA Change the Way It Looks at Appeals?

The VA claim wait lists are down. In 2013 they peaked at 600,000 veterans pending a decision that exceeded the 125 day maximum. Today, they are less than 80,000. Simultaneously the number of appeals has increased from 167,412 to 425,480. This begs the question, what is going on at the VA?

The reality is that veterans are an optimistic group. For their years of service, they are afforded continuous care and payments if they have disabling effects from their service. Unfortunately, due to years of poor record keeping, a culture where medical appointments were dissuaded, and, people simply not documenting injuries, much has been ignored.

Many veterans did not recognize the extent that their service-connected injuries would affect them later in life. People have found it difficult to complete the requirements of jobs, due to injuries sustained in the military, and they find themselves limited today.

The VA appeal system is designed for the veteran. There is no limitation to the amount of times an appeal can be submitted. Veterans can submit new evidence, can provide witness statements, medical reports, and there is no limitation to how far back the claim can go. This requires the VA to dedicate time and energy towards validating a claim, or seeking additional information.

AppealThe time and energy, unfortunately, is something that the VA does not have in excess. Due to the declining budget and increasing requirements, the VA often finds itself in the same position as the federal government. They demand money to solve problems, people demand they make their systems more efficient and use the money they already have better. It is a never-ending cycle with only one loser – disabled veterans. At the end of the day, the veteran is not receiving the six figure job, he or she is simply trying to get their medical needs resolved.

A veteran that is unmarried, and 100% disabled, will receive $2,906.83 per month, or just under $35,000 per year. A married veteran will receive $3,086.90 per month, or just under $37,000 per year. Neither of these veterans are living the good life on these kinds of amounts, but they are sustaining and able to support themselves.

The problem for the VA is that they simply do not have the personnel to surge on the appeals numbers, without once again affecting the claims numbers. The solution is to hire more people to properly assess the appeals, but all it takes is a veteran to refile an appeal again to make all the work for naught. Surely the system should remain designed to benefit the veteran. No one should have to wonder if the government will support them for their hard work. At the same time, the lack of time limits and endless appeals cause a crushing effect on overall numbers.

As veterans, we owe it to ourselves, our government, and taxpayers to identify and medically document our issues prior to departing service. Surely, as an incident arises after we have left service, we should determine if it originated during military service or not. With all that said, veterans should understand that appealing repeatedly to manipulate the system for another dollar is also not the correct method. At all times, both sides should remain entirely honest and open with the process. Only in this way can all parties win.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Kyle Soler

Kyle Soler is an active duty Infantry Officer serving in the US Army. He has served in the military for more than 10 years, working his way from an Infantry Squad Leader to a Company Commander with multiple combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan in between. Kyle earned his bachelor’s degree in History from Willamette University, and three Master degrees from Jones International University in Information Security Management, Health Care Management, and International Business. He also holds certifications in Six Sigma Lean and Six Sigma Lean Black Belt. His primary focus is realigning organizational priorities to get the most out of the time available in terms of training and development. Prior to entering military service, he worked as a fire fighter and an EMT. His areas of knowledge include military, training, leadership, disaster and continuity planning.
Kyle Soler

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