May 20, 2013
Veterans who’ve been patiently waiting for the benefits promised them by the United States government are getting fed up and they’re calling for change. But, As Jon Stewart points out in his “Red Tape Diaries,” if they can just wait two more years the VA will have the backlog cleared up enough that vets will only have to wait four more months for their benefits.
Eric Shinseki, a former four-star general and Army chief of staff, was nominated for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs position on December 7, 2008, by President-elect Barack Obama. He was unanimously confirmed ty the Senate and sworn in on January 21, 2009.
The VA currently has approximately 630,000 claims backlogged, which means they’ve been pending for more than 125 days. Some veterans have been waiting more than two years.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, an organization representing the new generation of veterans, is aggressively lobbying Washington to get the backlog cleaned up and deliver on the promised Washington made to veterans. The group has also started on online petition, at MillionVetBacklog.com, which already has more than 9,000 signatures.
Shinseki declined to be interviewed for a recent New York Times article, but his spokesman, Josh Taylor, released a statement that Shinseki that “knows that any time you set out to make major transformational changes, criticism is part of the job.”
The statement added, “He is driving the organization hard toward aggressive goals, he knows we have more work to do, and he is confident that we will end the backlog in 2015.”
In his “Red Tape Diaries” series, Jon Stewart has a clip of Shinseki promising that the backlog will be completely cleaned up in 2015. “We have resolved to eliminate the department’s backlog by 2015. Not just reduce it, but end it. And then claims will be processed in 125 days or less.”
“There you have it!”, Stewart said. “In only two more years… they’re hoping to have you wait only four more months,”
On April 29 the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it would be withholding performance bonuses for senior officials who are in charge of the large disability claims backlog and the money will instead go toward helping to eliminate the backlog.