In the wake of yet another mass shooting tragedy, my heart goes out the victims and their families following the shooting that occurred last Monday at the Navy Shipyard in Washington, D.C. This tragedy is perhaps more striking due to some of the seemingly irregular circumstances involved: the gun appears to have been purchased legally by the shooter after a background check by a former military member, who now works as a subcontractor, with security clearance. Of course, never missing a beat, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and Representative Jeff Miller (R-FL), who chairs the House counterpart have each requested information from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regarding mental health treatment and benefits the alleged shooter may have been receiving.
Obviously, these situations always leave more questions than answers. The VA has referred all questions from Congress about the incident to the FBI, ostensibly because the VA has its own issues to deal with! The VA handles a variety of claims from former service members. Wartime veterans who are over age 65 may receive the VA Aid & Attendance non-service connected disability pension if they meet certain income and net worth requirements. The benefit may be used to pay for assistance with daily tasks and other healthcare needs. In order to qualify, it may be helpful to plan in order to ensure that you meet the requirements through the use of a QVap Trust.
For current wartime veterans with service-connected disabilities, the good news from the VA is that the backlog on benefits claims is slowly shrinking back down. After growing to more than 600,000 stalled claims, the VA has decided to make some changes. In the process, nearly all claims that have been pending for over 2 years have been resolved already.
The VA has hired a slew of new claims processors who are designated to only work on claims that have been lagging over an extended period. San Diego’s average wait time is just under one year. San Diego’s regional office will receive 12 new workers in this so-called “Strike Force.” In so doing, the hope is that the average time for claim processing will decrease and the agency will catch up to its workload. Further, VA claims processors are required to work a minimum of 20 hours of overtime per month to deal with backlogged claims. Finally, the VA’s new computerized system should be fully on line next year, which will expedite the amount of time spent on each, individual claim.
The current backlog primarily involves service-related disability claims and has been affected by Vietnam veterans claiming benefits for disabilities resulting from exposure to Agent Orange and the onslaught of new wartime veterans. However, there are also about 250,000 pending appeals for disability claims, which also need to be resolved. The progress is encouraging though for those who have been waiting for claim resolutions. The VA has vowed to decrease wait times to 125 days by 2015.
VA Aid & Attendance–How Can I Correctly Choose Help for my Application Process? FREE REPORT: This complimentary report focuses on the various kinds of people one can consult when applying for the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit. Who one chooses can mean the difference between success and failure. Remember, if you are denied, you may not be able to reapply for up to a year or longer. Download our complimentary report for a behind the scenes look at the different types of people you can consult and the dirty underbelly of the Veterans Aid & Attendance industry.