In a hugely digitized world, our military support systems are just now crawling out of the dark ages to address the very true and real needs of the injured service member. Still stuck in a paper trail maze where they are not only facing life altering physical and mental challenges but then asked to blaze their own trail through a confusing, unknown path to financial and medical support. They are not the only ones who are not clear on what they need to do to help themselves. Quite often even the people there to help them have no idea what is required.
What is changing?
The VA has spent the last two years developing and testing a computer system to digitize all the disability benefit claims. The goal is to have the back log conquered and the wait time brought town to 125 days. According to a recent article in the LA Times they have just responded to 65,000 cases that have been waiting for two years or more. As of this September there were 751,000 claims waiting for action and 457,000 had been waiting for over 125 days. The average wait on a benefit claim? In San Diego, 350 days, Los Angeles, 588 days. So what do these families and service members do while they wait for 2015?
Charities like. Operation Family Fund, fill the needed gap to keep roofs over their heads, food on their table and cars running to get kids to school, and the service members to medical appointments. Requests range from covering Mechanics bills, rent, electric and water bill, etc. The average age of a member filing a claim with the VA is 30 years or younger. Many have young children and most are enlisted. Quite often their medical condition limits them from holding down a job or even helping around the house. Until the VA is able to catch up with the technological age and no longer be paging through inches thick manila files held together with rubber bands, these service members need our support.
“Image courtesy of [nirots] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”