Charles Williams had planned to become a ROTC teacher after he left the military, but was wounded by an RPG attack in Afghanistan.
After more than a decade of continuous warfare, the cost of disability compensation for wounded veterans is surging to mammoth proportions.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expects to spend $57 billion on disability benefits next year. That’s up 25% from $46 billion this year, and nearly quadruple the $15 billion spent in 2000, before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. (more…)
(Source: Sun Sentinel)
The Social Security Administration took a whack at a big backlog of applications for disability benefits in South Florida and the rest of the nation by declaring that more sick people will qualify automatically.
Almost 10,000 people in Broward and Palm Beach counties are waiting for hearings to decide whether they are disabled — third-highest in the nation, with an average wait of 368 days, according to Syracuse University. Over the years, some people have become destitute or died while waiting for hearings.
The SSA said its new policy adds 52 serious illnesses to a list of 113 conditions that make a person automatically eligible for disability, so he doesn’t get denied and have to wait in the backlog for a hearing date.
“This will be a big help for people who are very sick,” said former Social Security Judge Lyle Lieberman, now a Fort Lauderdale lawyer who handles disability cases. (more…)
(Source: The Washington Post)
With the Veterans Administration facing a growing backlog of more than 900,000 disability claims, advocates for veterans warned Wednesday that pressure by the VA to reduce the numbers will increase the number of mistakes it makes.
The number of pending claims before the VA stood at 903,000 this week, up 50,000 from January and an increase of about one-half million from three years ago, numbers driven by veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with complex injuries, and a policy change making it easier for Vietnam veterans to file Agent Orange-related claims.
“The tidal wave of claims coming in on VA is putting unprecedented demand on VA,” Paul Sullivan, representing the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates, told the House Veterans Affairs Committee at a hearing on the disability claims process. (more…)