Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

July 20, 2013

Congress should do what’s right for our nation’s veterans

Each year Congress assembles, new legislative bills are introduced as previously introduced bills die.

Some bills relate to Vietnam veterans who did not have boots on ground. Many served at sea and in the air who need Veterans Administration benefits including compensation for their survival.

It is well known Agent Orange Dioxin, a herbicide used in Vietnam from 1962 to 1973, is cause for many life threatening diseases for those who served.

Congress and the VA are well aware of this fact. Even though this is well known in Congress, they continue to fail our veterans. Without proper funding, the VA can not help many suffering veterans of the Vietnam war.

The backlog of submitted claims is overwhelming. It can take a year or more for the VA to review a claim. Often is the case, the veteran is asked to provide more evidence in support of a claim. Many veterans do not know where to find additional supporting evidence for their branch of service.

Veteran Service Officers are trained by the VA to help, even they are overwhelmed with inquiries. They can only provide so much time; placing the responsibility upon the veteran to locate evidence.

There are resources for veterans if those resources where published. Many veterans just give up. The VA should provide these resources to help veterans.

Legislative bills if passed would cut red tape. The backlog can be significantly reduced for those who did not have boots on ground, just the same are sick.

It is about the dollars and politics, not about the veteran. What price is a veteran worth? The American people must step forward urging the Congress to do what is right for our nation’s veterans.

John J. Bury, U.S. Navy, retired

Vietnam war veteran

Media, Pa.

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