Vets stuck in VA limbo

May 21, 2013 

Let's pray that people in charge of Obamacare never worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The backlog in processing disability claims of veterans is shameful: 900,000 claims are taking more than a year to process. You could take every man, woman and child in St. Clair, Madison, Monroe and Clinton counties and you still would be about 300,000 people short.

But that's only part of the story. Some people have been waiting for years. Mike Rujawitz, of Belleville, is still waiting for a determination of benefits eight years after he filed his claim. Willie Fox, of East St. Louis, died waiting for the VA to decide his claim, filed nine years earlier.

For veterans like these, the most dreaded words from government are: "We're working on it."

Sadly, the VA delays are more the rule than the exception. Social Security disability has created an entire industry of people to work though that tangle of bureaucratic red tape. Immigrants can wait years for their applications to live in America to be approved.

The federal government isn't very good at running programs, but ready or not it's about to control our nation's health care needs. Hold onto your hat; this could get bumpy.

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