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Veterans backlog

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Updated: 5/17/2013 8:47 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Local veterans fighting a new battle when they return home, trying to get all of the benefits they've earned.

Scott Macfarlane recently reported a crippling backlog of cases facing local servicemen and women.

Weeks later, Washington says it's gonna take new steps to break the logjam.

A veteran walk into a Jacksonville-area VA office and files for benefits.

In many cases, it'll take months to get those claims filled.

The average wait time for vets in florida is now 334 days, according to a study by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

When Action News revealed VA executives were pocketing fat, five-figure bonus checks, despite the backlog, the agency announced it's canceling the bonuses.

Now the agency announces an effort to reduce the waits.

It says it's ordering its claims processing staff be put on overtime pay to more quickly churn through the piles of claims,  a backlog which has reached 800,000 nationwide.

Iraq war veteran Pete Hegseth says some troops have long been pushing the VA to take more aggressive steps.

"Why are we not attacking the sources of the delays and the problems? This is a human being who has injuries, came back and wants to be taken care of," Hegseth said.

The agency says it's also adjusting its procedures to "expedite" claims that've been languishing more than a year.

As part of sweeping, nationwide federal budget cuts, the VA won't lose a penny.

no reductions because of so-called "sequestration."

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

Realchange - 5/17/2013 10:35 AM
0 Votes
I served in Desert Storm in the United States Navy. The VA due to poltics refuses to acknowledge I am sick. Any other veteran litterally with my symptoms would have been service connected already. I asked both Senator from our state for help. Rubio never responded and MR Nelson did not chose to help after investigating. The VA took a legal loophole with me. My ships was sub serving near Isreal that hit targets in Iraq. During my service in the Navy I was exposed to physical injury, chemical spill (which duplicated a chemical weapons spill which I am specifically vulnerable to), my Naval battle group got the anthrax vaccine but the VA maintains since its not in my medical records ( military medical records got lost for several years as well) that it never happened. Ever hear of a ship getting skipped when a whole battle group it's with gets vaccinated? Additonally I have the same blood enzyme condition as the worst anthrax vaccine reaction on record. Sgt Lavester Brown incident goggle it with anthrax vaccine tag and see what you get. I additonally have head injury as well while in the US Navy. The government refuses to service connect me and when I request a jury trial with all the evidence I have they laugh at me and point to the Feres doctrine saying they do not have to give me a jury trial when my case reaches the VA court system. People who have seen my evidence both physically real files have said I shojld been service connected. Mr Nelson that government feel that I should not be. My evidence is extensive and would make many sick if the seen the reacton by our FAIR and HONEST US government.

RetiredJSO - 5/17/2013 7:33 AM
0 Votes
Make them pay back the bonuses.

whosaysnocan - 5/17/2013 4:27 AM
0 Votes
The problems within the VA has been ongoing for decades. Our Vietnam Vets have been fighting the system since their return. Now we have thousands of returning combat veterans that are not receiving the attention and care they deserve. I suspect that IF there are any returning kids of our elected officials or any of the many people in positions of power needed VA services they get it with little to no wait. Not what but who you know kind of thing. Each time there is a report on the state of this problem I am reminded that Sen. McCain's father was the one that was assigned to start the VA to help returning WW2 veterans. Now I ask, what has this man done for his fellow vets? Not much as far as I can tell. As a VA eligible veteran and having some difficulties with my current health care, I decided not to apply for health care until/when/if this situation with these returning kids gets moving in a positive direction and they get the attention and care they so rightly deserve. Makes me quite angry~always has since the '70's.
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