VCS Statement: A Vital Constitutional Victory for Our Veterans
Written by VCS
Wednesday, 11 May 2011 11:47
Updated May 12, 2011
May 11, 2011 (VCS) – Yesterday, the Court of Appeals ruled VA’s mental health care system and disability claims system remain badly broken, and veterans face long delays to see doctors and obtain benefits.
The Court of Appeals ordered VA to fix what it descrbed “egregious problems.” VCS believes now is the time for our President, VA Secretary, and Congress to fix VA. The bureaucratic delays must end now.
Veterans had our day in court, we won, and now we urge VA to move forward so no veteran is delayed or denied healthcare or disability benefits. Our nation can and must do better so no veteran is left behind as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down.
In a blistering 104-page attack on VA’s long delays for healthcare and benefits, the Court of Appeals ruled, “We hold that the VA’s failure to provide adequate procedures for veterans facing prejudicial delays in the delivery of mental health care violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment [of our Constitution].”
VA’s crisis was caused by two major factors. First, VA suffers from “unchecked incompetence” over many years. And, second, VA was hit with a tidal wave of 654,000 new, first-time Iraq and Afghanistan War veteran patients since 9/11, including 332,000 mental health patients. VA reports reveal 192,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
In addition to a sharp rise in new patients, recent war veterans filed 552,000 disability compensation claims against VA after deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. However, only 92,000, or less than half of our Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans’ disability compensation claims for PTSD are approved by VA.
Unfortunately, starting in 2001, VA had no plan for any new patients and claims. VA still has no strategic plan to meet sharply rising demand for treatment and benefits. Tragically, the Court confirms veterans died (more than a thousand during a few month period during the 2008 trial) while waiting for VA to provide healthcare and benefits, according to yesterday’s ruling.
The Court of Appeals concluded, “VA’s unchecked incompetence has gone on long enough; no more veterans should be compelled to agonize or perish while the government fails to perform its obligations.” VA continually fails to provide timely access to healthcare and disability benefits, according to the Court of Appeals, without any due process to challenge a broken system. This harms veterans and violates veterans’ rights.
Veterans for Common Sense thanks our co-plaintiff, Veterans United for Truth, and we applaud the Court of Appeals for their wisdom in handing down this tremendous legal victory for our veterans.
If you like what Florida Veterans For Common Sense is doing to support veterans, please donate or Join Now.
Contributions to Florida Veterans for Common Sense Inc., (a 501 (c) 4 not for profit corporation) are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes. If you want to make a tax deductible contribution please go to Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund Inc., (a 501 (c) 3 not for profit corporation).