Tuesday, June 24, 2008

End shameful treatment for veterans on the mend

End shameful treatment for veterans on the mend

By the Herald editorial staff

The jump from combat to poverty is a short one for America's military.

Get shot-up bad enough, or disabled instead of killed by a roadside bomb, and after whatever level of medical care required, these young men and women find the Veterans Administration ready to deal with them.


According to The Associated Press, nearly 20,000 disabled soldiers were discharged in the past two fiscal years, and lawmakers, veterans advocates and others say thousands could be facing financial ruin while they wait for their benefits to come through.

How could this be?

As usual, blame the VA. It has it coming.

Although most permanently disabled veterans qualify for payments from VA and Social Security, it takes a while for the bureaucrats to do the paperwork.

The AP reported it's not unusual for veterans and their families to see monthly income drop from $3,400 a month to $970 while all the paperwork is completed.

For six to nine months.

Half to most of a year.

That's described as extreme hardship.

"The anecdotal evidence is depressing," Rep. John Hall, D-N.Y., who heads a subcommittee on veterans disability benefits, told AP.

The Army, we're told, is doing what it can, allowing wounded soldiers to continue to draw their full Army paychecks for up to 90 days after discharge.

That doesn't close the financial gap but it narrows it.

It does seem, however, that a country that expects so much of its troops could make sure none of them has to live under a bridge.

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