Veterans Day has come and gone, but concerns for veterans regarding their health care remain.
Robert Davis of Copperas Cove is 90 percent disabled. He says the claims process with the VA “has been more than frustrating.”
“My claims have all been approved, but I am still waiting for payment three years later,” said Davis, a Vietnam veteran. “I was sent a letter more than two years ago that the claims were approved. I just can’t get paid.”
Davis, who spent 23 years in the military, said he is not angry and understands it is a process. He continues to call the VA on a regular basis to check on his past-due claims. He said he is told his claims are backlogged and still awaiting approval for payment at higher levels.
“The Army paid me what it owed me years ago, but I’m still waiting on the VA,” he said. “I have copies of all of my records because you have to prove it to (the VA) that you are owed the money. I finally got it approved after all these years but still haven’t gotten paid (from the VA).”
One of the biggest concerns among veterans is the backlog of claims in the VA system, which recently put a new program in place to process claims more quickly. The VA has divided the claims into three categories: express, core and special operations, said Bert Meza of the National Disabled American Veterans Association.
“The VA had a backlog of 50,000 claims six months ago,” Meza said. “Today, they are down to less than 20,000. We track these issues for retirees and have watched the system improve.”
George Martin of Copperas Cove served in both Korea and Vietnam. He agreed the VA is slow and patients have to be organized.
“If you go to the VA with a good attitude and don’t expect your care overnight, you’ll eventually get help. But, you have to have everything in order where they don’t have to look for your records,” Martin said. “Otherwise, it takes even longer. But, the VA has treated me just as well as Scott & White.”