Mission Impossible: VA benefits

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Life gets so hard when you’re very old that dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs bureaucracy does indeed feel like adding insult to an already injurious process. First you serve your country; then, when you’re humbled by age and infirmity and in need of government services, you’re required to jump through bureaucratic hoops.

Perhaps that’s why only 5 percent of veterans who are entitled to the Aid and Attendance Benefit actually apply for it. The process is too daunting. It sucks the life out of anyone who attempts to crawl through the maze of paperwork and process.

I’m referring to only one specific benefit that’s available to any veteran who served in any war. It doesn’t have to be service in action, and there doesn’t have to be an injury involved. It’s a benefit available to those who require additional health care; eligibility is tied to personal assets. The reason I’m becoming educated about the process is that my dad is eligible for this particular benefit, and he is in need. If he or my mother had to go through the application process on his or her own, it would never happen.

Through the years, we have witnessed epic V.A. scandals. Conditions at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, delays in processing benefits for injured soldiers, hassles, red tape, backlogs and snafus are all business as usual at Veterans Affairs. Our political leaders talk about honoring our vets, but they don’t need another parade; they need financial help and consideration for their service to this country.

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