How Many Veterans Are Accessing VA? Millions.

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, some are asking how the Department of Veterans Affairs is caring for today’s Veterans. Contrary to recent press reports, the reality is Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are accessing VA services at an unprecedented rate.

I’m one of those Veterans who has utilized the many services provided by the VA.  I used the GI Bill to complete my PhD, purchased a home with the help of a VA home loan, and receive world class health care from the VA. In an era of fiscal constraint, Secretary Shinseki and President Obama have fought not only to preserve these benefits, but to expand them.

Accessing health care has never been simpler. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans have the option of walking into one of 1,700 VA sites of care across the country, VA medical centers, community outpatient clinics or Vet Centers and signing up for five years of free health care. Not only can they do this, they have. With over 55% of returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans utilizing VA health care, it’s a rate of utilization greater than any other generation of Veterans.

Education benefits have never been greater. The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides for enlisted, officers and some family members up to 36 months of benefits, an allowance for books, and a monthly housing stipend. The Post-9/11 GI Bill has helped over 900,000 Veterans and their families —more people than currently serve in the active U.S. Army and Navy — pursue undergraduate, graduate and technical degrees.

And for those Veterans in crisis, the responders at the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 Press 1, chat online or send a text message to 838255) are there to help 24/7. Every day in fiscal year 2012, responders answered approximately 530 calls and rescued nearly 18 Veterans and family members in crisis. Or if a Veteran wants to speak with a fellow Veteran, they can call the Combat Call Center at 1-877-WAR-VETS.

Despite our success expanding access to care and education, there is much work to be done to fix the backlog of compensation claims. It is unacceptable. First, we need to understand why the backlog has grown. After 10 years, we have ended one war and are winding down another. We have more Veterans returning home with severe and complex injuries from the battlefield. In addition, this Administration has dramatically expanded access to benefits for Veterans suffering from Agent Orange to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Gulf War Illness. Our Veterans earned these benefits, but by increasing access, we have also contributed to the backlog.

That is why we are implementing a robust plan to fix the problem. At the same time, the VA has completed over 4.1 million claims since 2009 and provided over $58 billion in disability compensation to 4.3 million Veterans and their survivors in 2012 alone — about $150 million every day. At no time in our history have our Veterans received more direct compensation payments.

Under Secretary Shinseki’s leadership, VA has improved the lives of millions of Veterans. That is the mission of VA’s 300,000 employees, over 100,000 of which are Veterans themselves. Our Nation benefits most when led by selfless public servants like Secretary Shinseki, who get up and go to work every day doing what’s right for our military, our Veterans, their families and survivors.

Tommy Sowers is the Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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30 Comments to “How Many Veterans Are Accessing VA? Millions.”

  1. Allie Carnes says:

    I mentioned this to Kate on twitter earlier today, for some veterans (and their families) one failure can negate any success that the VA has achieved. My husband is active duty and my father was drafted during Vietnam and served as a combat engineer. It’s easy to forget that OIF and OEF veterans aren’t the only ones having difficulty with the overloaded system. My dad received all of his healthcare from the Chicago Jesse Brown VAMC and they are not equipped with the right staff, from social workers to physicians to deal with the amount of veterans going through their doors every day. My dad had to wait 8 months to receive chemotherapy from Jesse Brown because of their inability to manage the patient load. And he didn’t have to wait through the backlog because he was a patient prior to the War on Terrorism. I hope the VA will have it figured out by the time my husband retires.

    The VA keeps saying they are taking responsibility for shortcomings but no one from the VA was at my dad’s funeral last week taking responsibility.

    If you think I am off base, I’d like to ask you, If you had cancer would you wait 8 months for chemotherapy?

    • D Flynn says:

      I am so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. May he rest in peace.

      Sadly, your story in not unique. It is repeated daily and you are right, there is no responsibility as they, unlike private institutions, are shielded from incompetence, malfeasence and malpractice.

    • Stefani Ceballos says:

      Tommy, first let me say that I am very happy that you have been able to utilize the benefits that we work for and deserve. I am always happy to hear the success stories.

      However, as Allie’s husband and father and even my story are more the exception than the norm.

      Twenty-two years ago, as 22-year-old single mother but a proud member of the US Army, I left my son with my parents and served my country in the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Within a year of returning home, I began experiencing a range of issues and have since received diagnoses including memory loss, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, chronic insomnia, migraines and anxiety disorder.

      However difficult it has been for me to learn to live with those conditions; far more devastating is the nearly two and a half decades of dealing with multiple miscarriages, the birth of my son Ralph, who was born 10 weeks early with multiple neural defects, hydrocephalus and uncontrollable seizures. Ralph lived a mere 43 days.

      Two years after we buried our son, I successfully gave birth, after a very high-risk pregnancy, to my youngest son; even after being told, while he was in utero, that he had Spina Bifida. We were given the option for a late term termination of the pregnancy which we declined. He is 17 now and just starting to realize the full effects of his disease.

      In the last five years I was diagnosed with Glassy Cell Carcinoma. Poor response to surgery and/or radiotherapy, and 5-year survival rates in the range of 31% to 33%, required me, at the age of 39 to have a complete radical hysterectomy.

      My claims to the VA have been summarily denied as I am told by the National Personnel Records Center, that there is no DD Form 214 in my personnel file failing to show that I was ever deployed. And any medical records that can be found show that I never sought medical care for those conditions while on active duty, therefore, my family and I are entitled to nothing.

      As soldiers, we are prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice for ourselves. I never imagined that the ultimate sacrifice would come in the form of seeing my son’s tiny little coffin lowered into the ground.

      I have been denied access to every registry and excluded from every survey. When birth defects were studied, my children didn’t count. Seventeen years ago, members of my Unit were informed of their exposure from the burn pits. This was a letter that I never received.

      Reports say that It can take up to a year one year or even 462 days to have a claim properly examined.

      My number…

    • Scott says:

      I am the Veterans Coordinator for a DC-area hospice provider. Right off the bat, we screen our admitted veterans (I currently have 29 of them on service) for both VA enrollment and we inquire as to any benefits they may wish to apply for that they may still be eligible for. Spouses of our veterans patients are also serviced in the same way for Survivor’s Benefits application.

      Sounds great, right? Then we get hit with the 12 month quoted timeline for approval, when these veterans have six months or less to live – diagnosed! The hospice diagnosis moves their file through the approval system more expeditiously but to what end? What about my veterans who served honorably during times of conflict as defined by the VA but are deprioritized because they were not boots on the ground in combat? Couple these contradictions with the lack of accessibility of VA phone lines and their endless hold times and busy signals, as well as nobody taking ownership on the issue of timely compensation/A&A for terminally-ill veterans, and we have a debacle.

      I’m a veteran myself, having served 8 years as a Marine. I am one of the thousands who have “flooded” the system in recent years for compensation and health care. Yet, there has got to be a better way than this. Time is not on our side in hospice; we are often submitting a claim/application for benefits that could potentially not be approved for that dying veteran within his remaining days. However, does that mean we don’t? And, does that mean that we use the same approval timeline/system for terminally-ill veterans?

      Scott

    • lynndavila says:

      Sorry about your dad and your loss, I have many friends with the same story including my dad. I also am a disabled veteran who had my disability cut for no reason and have been fighting for three years to get it back with no success. The VA is a joke and when young people in my neighbourhood tell me they are joining I try to talk them out of it because if they get hurt they will NOT be there for them. Lets talk about the VA home loan, you must have no outstanding credit to get the loan and if your credit is that good you can get a better rate without the VA. Lets talk about GI bill, I was in the middle of using my GI bill and my funds got cut off mid semester and I ended up going bankrupt because the ten year limit expired even though I was stationed in Germany for years with my military spouse and did not have access to use it. Lets talk about the great health care, I took a test at the local VA hospital and it came back negative so I went to my own doctor who ordered the same test at a local hospital and it came back positive, when I ask the technician why they said the VA has outdated equipment that is not as sensitive as the equipment that the private sector uses. I could sit here all day long with examples of how the VA has failed our fallen heroes but it has fallen on deaf ears,

    • THE LACK OF A RESPONSIBLE RESPONDER TO MALPRACTICE AND THE MANY OUTCOMES OF THAT MALPRACTICE LEAD TO MORE DEATHS THAN ANYONE CAN IMAGINE. AND PLEASE DO NOT HOLD YOUR BREATH ABOUT SEEING IMPROVEMENT… MY FATHER WAS A RETIRED DECORATED VETERAN OF WWII AND KOREA AND WHEN HE WAS DIRECTED BY HIS PHYSICIAN TO CHANGE MEDICATIONS, HE WAS FOUND DEAD 3 DAYS LATER.. IT WAS A CRIME AND EVERYONE KNEW IT, BUT NOTHING WAS EVER DONE LEGALLY. BE VERY DISCRIMINATE AND DOCUMENT ANY AND ALL OBSERVATIONS, OUTCOMES AND VA RESPONSES… I SPENT THE LAST 20 YEARS IN ALASKA AND NOW LIVE IN THE PHILIPPINES… ALASKA WAS FANTASTIC AND EVERY DAY, I WISH I WAS HOME BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT OUTSTANDING MEDICAL CARE IS AND I CAN TELL YOU THE VA HERE IS NOT WHAT I CAME TO EXPECT FROM THE ALASKA VA.

  2. D Flynn says:

    This kind of story will ignite many that have not had “world class healthcare” at the VA. I am one of those. I could recount the several times I was misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed or given medications that were contraindicated, but it would be lengthy and not solve the issues of VA healthcare.

    . For me, like tens of thousands of aging vets, the VA is just too far away to be of real value. If I need surgery or certain specialties I have to go to another VA. What this means is instead of an hour and quarter each way it becomes two hours. How many civilians have to travel that far to see a specialist? Or, if they do have a specialist at the local VAMC and you feel you aren’t being treated properly, it is the same story.

    I am 100% disabled and fortunately have medicare. Even though I spent about $8000 on private medical care last year, I feel one heck of a lot better about the care I received.

    I am happy that our OIF and OEF vets are getting benefits that are deserved. However, you may wish to pause and thank the Vietnam vets and especially the Vietnam Vets of America when we organized and declared, ““Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.” I belive we have lived up to that promise.

    Finally this obviously political pat on the back is not a shared sentiment by every veteran and the article is based on the author’s opinion, not the VA or veterans as a whole.

  3. Eric says:

    Well allow me to open up a slot or two in the Hampton,VA. POS treatment, staff primary care is ok. Never one good experience there. I started in Denver/co springs they were good.

  4. Kathleen Hennessey says:

    I seriously doubt that Sowers comment was unsolicited. It’s just another propaganda statement to obfuscate that the VA continues to treat Gulf War Illnesses or train its physicians to recognize and treat Gulf War Illness. Ten years . . . try over twenty for Dessert Shield/Dessert Storm participants. Over twenty years and still no effective treatments for the illnesses from which over 200,000 veterans suffer. As long as the VA refuses to acknowledge research pointing to Gulf War Illness as an autoimmune neurological illness, veterans will continue to go undiagnosed, underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed, thereby denying them the medical treatment they essentially need. This is just another desperate attempt to knock out of the news the testimony of the VA Whistleblower, who testified on Wednesday before the House Veterans Affairs Committee, that the VA is burying research or findings that put the VA in a negative light.

    • Allie Carnes says:

      Kathleen, you are right, it’s just a fluff piece. The VA admitting there is a problem isn’t the same thing as taking responsibility. I know they are trying to “fix” the issues with their system, but what about the people that it’s too late for? Where are the apologies? D Flynn is right, the VA has nothing to lose when their Veterans lose, because they don’t have the same repercussions as private institutions. The Federal Tort Claims Act needs to change. The government doesn’t deserve immunity when they fail their people.

    • MSgt Jorge says:

      Retired vet having retired in 92 after D/S & D/S. VA sure has a hard time with most everything . I do believe they hire the handicapped but they sure as hell are not veterans, at least not most of them. They would rather spend $500 to send you to another VA facility than have you travel 2 miles to a “civilian facility that could do the job for $100. They use different codes than what you are originally diagnosed under , make you wait for years for answers. Been waiting 7 years on my back for what took 3 months with Social Security. How do these young warriors do it. TBI they get 10 lousy percent . How the hell do you support yourself let alone a family on a lousy 10% disability? And who is gonna hire you with a TBI? Where the hell is the equity in this system?

      • Allie Carnes says:

        MSgt Jorge, you are spot on. My dad went to the VAMC in the Chicago medical district. There was a hospital in EVERY direction. When they finally decided to give him radiation they couldn’t do it at the Jesse Brown VAMC, so for 2 weeks they put him in an ambulance to take him to the suburbs for treatment, instead of sending him across the street. None of it makes any sense. I don’t think the younger veterans you have mentioned are fairing any better. The VA spends their time putting out fires and nothing ever really gets accomplished.

  5. Miller says:

    “VA is improving the lives of millions of veterans every day” was the headline that I clicked to get here. Instead I get another fluff piece about how everything is sunshine and roses at VA. At no point whatsoever has blame been assigned or assumed. Sure. OEF/OIF veterans are getting through the system faster – because President Bush put them at the front of the line, despite anyone that was higher in the proverbial stack than they were.
    Then I got to the end, and saw that this was written by a fluffer at the Public Affairs division of VA.
    Enough said.
    Believe the hype of the propaganda machine as you like. Myself, I prefer the truth. Based on my own limited interactions with VA, I can point a dozen flaws in this fluff piece. But hey, if they want to blow sunshine up their butts, let them.
    Meanwhile, I’ll wait another 18 months for them to say no, like last time, and the time before that. Why so long? I was not in OEF/OIF. I got out before then, so I’m one of the many being cycled back to the bottom of the pile.

    Thanks VA!

    • Allie Carnes says:

      Miller, have you reached out to any of the Veteran Service Organizations for help with your claim paperwork? It might be worth a try. I’d also write letters to the Congressional Veterans Affairs Committees, as well as your own Congressional Representatives. One letter might not be enough to make a difference but if we can keep it up, eventually they won’t be able to ignores the stacks on their desks.

  6. Rebecca Selby says:

    I’m so glad at least one OIF/OEF Veteran has been able to get their Medical Board package though the VA backlog. I would give anything to be able to use the VA medical system (subpar as it my be), but I am 1 year and 3 months into my MEB and my PEBLO says I probably still have about a year+ more to go. And why are Vets coming to the VA? Because after waiting years for their benefits (then when they wrongly get low benefits and have to appeal and that takes years to fix) which is all because of the VA’s ineptitude, our Vets have emptied their checking and savings accounts. Many times they have lost their home and hopefully the disability claim was approved before they take their own life so they can get the mental health and other health care they need. The VA is a place of last resort made that way by the VA backlog.

  7. Stewart says:

    Having a bad day, I needed a good laugh. This article caused me to laugh endlessly. Never seen such misinformation. No mention of the near 1,000,000 service personnel awaiting filed claims for benefits that are beyond the glorious 125 day touted period of the VA, nor those waiting for years (yes, that is YEARS) for an appeal to be addressed. No mention of the cover up to avoid award of benefits to those suffering from PTSD because VA did not want to spend the money. No mention of the billions spent for a computer system that was recently cancelled because it would not work. No mention of many, many, many management failures in VA. If I did not know this originated at VA, I’d say it was propaganda from China, Iran, or Russia. It would be just about as believable.

  8. Joseph Simpson says:

    This is shameful on the part of the Department Of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary to allow this BS to be repeated when there are Over Two Million ( DAV / VFW reports and college studies ) Claims Backlog, Appeals and BVA Remands. This is a perfect example of what I have been reporting since 2005, the VA lies to the American Public to prevent a total outrage. However the truth is starting to get out and more people are asking vets like myself about the things the VA puts vets through with the Claims process and the violations of law the VA gets away with. Every day on every VA site there are countless stories on the suffering of vets. Suicides and homelessness are UP and in many cases as a direct result of the VA. Too many vets chose to be homeless due to the treatment and things they were put through dealing with the VA, believe me I know the Feeling all to well and I have had to bite my lips on several occasions when dealing with VA employees especially since I am a former Federal employee. Seeing something like this makes me boil and I am not alone, my phone has been no stop on this. The one thing that makes me really mad is the fact everyone seems to forget the worst of it is not even reported on here or any other site, there are millions of vets who have already lost everything due to the claims process and the negligence of the VA. I have been fighting the VA since 2004 with a BVA Remand they have been sitting on since 2009, there is now a Congressional inquiry since they lied to my Representative and she had the evidence. My doctors are all VA and they concur with my claim plus I have an Federal Appeals Court Judges decision in my favor since I am Federal as well as a veteran. The VA has lost paperwork on a regular bases and violates Court orders without any accountability. There are several petitions currently going around that every vets needs to sign as well as family, they demand that Obama take action Now on the violations with in the VA and the Claims backlog. Most if not all claims are valid, that has been reported on several occasions. Look at the OIG Reports on the Regional Offices and the violations, but nothing is ever done and VA employees are not held accountable. the truth is stating to come out and every vets needs to tell everyone they know and meet the truth about the suffering the VA causes vets and their families. This is very sad.

  9. MixSmith says:

    The people who are griping on this site are clearly losers. Probably from the national guard and reserve. The lesson for America is that when you mobilize your guard and reserve, they crawl out from under rocks, and you have to pay them for the rest of their lives while they use their inconsequential service to guilt the country into patriotic welfare by the billions. This is the tail wagging the dog–but nobody will stand up to them because, its political suicide.

  10. Greg McWhorter says:

    When I ETS out of the Army there was no mention of anything. Nothing about PTSD, Panic disorder, Agorophobia, IBS, Hypertension, tinnitus, sleep apnea. I only recently found out about all this thanks to my son who just got out of the Army. He came home and said Dad you have some problems and the VA can help you. I am fortunate that the great lady at the eligilibity dept at John Cochran VA in St. louis explained everything so well. When I put my claim in at the St. Louis regional office I met an intake officer who was a Veteran suffering some of the same issues I have. 10 months later I had a C and P exam 2 months after that I started recieving compensation and treatment. After learning all the secondary issues directly related to PTSD I have filed more claims. So far my experience as a whole with the VA has been very positive. For those can wait the key word is patience and the ones that can’t wait sorry. I was lucky because people from the VA took time to help learn how to navigate the system. Am I were I want to be? No but I am on my way. Just getting a sleep study complete has been a challenge. There is a waiting line for this, but I had to get over my sincere fear of leaving the house to be able to do this. My Doctor has scheduled one so now it is a waiting game. There is the old addage of hurry up and wait. and if you married a veteran after they served you are not going to be as use to this as the Veteran themselves. luckily we are secure enough to wait. I know that if you are a Vietnam Vet the VA is also fast tracking claims for you. You all know Fast Track and military together is an oxymoron just like Military intelligence. So please be patient as you can be have an advocate assigned from one the service groups out there to help VFW, American Legion, DAV get there card and call them to see if they can go and see whats going on with your claim. Remeber if you were on the ground and your military records do not reflect this then you need to have your DD 214 amended. Not only combat zones can qualify you but UN peacekeeping missions can also be used to qualify. I hope you have the experience that I have had with the VA I could not be more happier. If you do not like what your Doctor has to say then go to the patient adovcate have them mediate on your behave or get you assigned a new Doctor.

  11. Neil says:

    VA is not perfect but it has come a long way from when I got out during the Vietnam War. The employees I have dealt with at the VA are always cheerful and ask how are am I doing. Your appointments are on time, more than I can say for most doctors in private pratice.
    Yes, there is room for improvement and my claim took over a year but sadly to say is no worse than most goverment agency that I have dealt with including Social Security. I was totally miss lead by one employee of SS with incorrect information so I would not purse having my SS adjusted.

  12. As a Gulf War veteran I can tell you watching this video made me cry. I wish I could give Mr Hardie a hug and say “Thank you”. As a veteran suffering for Gulf War Syndrome there have been many days when I wished death would finish me off expeditiously and not torture me every day, every hour, every second of my life. I refuse to commit suicide and have been fighting the VA for years trying to get help. I am so glad these men are speaking for us, as my mental cognition leave me impaired. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuNJbPMfrYo&feature=you tube_gdata_player

    I am really hoping criminal charges come forward from this investigation

  13. Your comment is awaiting moderation? So does that mean if you do not like my comment it will not be published? That’s OK because I save snapshot to my tablet, this way if it gets rejected, I can just share on Google+

  14. Ron Nesler says:

    I am a disabled vet from the Vietnam war, I an care giver for a LEVEL III child in the VA Spina Bifida Program for A/O children of Vietnam vets. The truth is that the VA continually lies and covers up to hide crimes against veterans. Have a problem with VA and their first response is to stall and stonewall by going Mum on you. The VA is basically a good idea that has eaten itself. The Va has MORE Administrators than doctors and more attorneys than nurses. That fact defines them.

    The VA lies to Congress, taxpayers and veterans. Ask yourself WHY the VA has sought (and OBTAINED) exemption from being sworn in and put under oath when testifying before Congress? Seeking and accepting such exemption is NOT the act of a truth teller, it is the act of a serial liar, who intends to lie AGAIN. That IS the VA.

  15. Chuck says:

    The VA is an utter disgrace. I know far more Veterans who have issues with VA than don’t. The paperwork and tap[ dancing one has to do to get anything done is disgraceful and utterly disrespectful to those who volunteered to serve.
    Millions may be accessing VA benefits but the struggles they must endure and the disappointment in service is the truth. For every vet getting taken care of I would bet there are 2 who are not.

  16. Ray M. says:

    This article seems strangely written in direct contrast for many things that the VA has been doing that does not have the “best interests of the veteran in mind” for a long time, and just now has come under heavy fire by Congress. If there is any government agency that has earned this “oversight” that they are now experiencing, it is the VA. Mismanagement and misappropriation of funds, waste, fraud, abuse of resources that are supposed to be helping veterans, right down to falsifying records or studies to delete important medical finding that would positively affect a disability rating or to help provide the proper medical just scratches the surface of what is now being discovered. All of these programs that are “worded” and “advertised” to help struggling veterans do not work that way when you actually apply for them and go in to get the help. As a veteran who has been struggling with the VA to just get what I should by their standards, policies, and rating matrix, I can speak of this personally.

    It seems that this is the way of the media now that does not look out for the citizens, and in this case veterans who have served their country by coming to the defense of agencies like the VA that are doing the biggest and most shameless discredit to our men and women who made so many sacrifices, and then pull the rug out from under them when they need help the most.

    There is no reason in this day of advanced technology for there to “still” be such a backlog of claims that take 2-3 years or more to be processed. Then 9 times out of ten your rating is “low-balled” and you have to submit to the “appeals” process, which is more of a nightmare and even longer than the original process to get your initial rating. I never believed that when I retired, and knew I had some service related medical issues due to my service, that the hardest battle I would have to fight is against the very agency that is supposed to be there for us, just to get the help I was told by them that I would. Instead they choose not to follow their own policies and regulations just to disqualify you or “low-ball” your disability rating so there is enough money for conference trips to Italy that are just boondoggles with misappropriated funds that are supposed to be helping veterans.

    This article is written with empty statistics, and references along with a title that is a question about how many veterans are “accessing” the VA. If you want to know how the VA is really doing helping veterans after they “access” the VA, ask a veteran.

  17. Kevin says:

    I can assure this is BS I’m a disabled vet but when I was forced out the VA told me to F off I get nothing after 15 years of service I got screwed, I know lots of other people in the same boat, and obummer is not trying save or preserve any of it he’s activly working to destroy it.

    • Dave says:

      I’m glad someone is getting their satisfaction. How about the 950,000 claims they are behind on in compensation, and vets are waiting an average of 657 days for completion. And the whistleblower who came forward on the coverup of critical evidence by the VA on veterans exposed to hazardous material in the Gulf War. Where are the service organizations that you only hear from when they want money. Your story Mr Sowers is right out of a Title 38 Part IV manual on BS. Why is the deputy secretary of veterans affairs appearing before congress on the huge back log. Shinseki does not have a clue about his own organization. If you want to see the real VA, file a claim for compensation and see how long you wait. Average wait time is two years.. Or go on line and go into IRIS and ask a question about something. I know people that are still waiting for feedback 40 days later. I have gone from 10 percent to 70 percent disability and not one service organization has helped me out hardly at all. Im happy you got your PhD and your home with veterans benefits and thank you for your service. But, you are totally off base and not even in the ballpark on the way veterans are treated by the VA. Go into a couple of reality websites like vawatchdog.org or hadit.com, and you’ll see the real picture.

  18. Eric says:

    Eric

    I was also in Vietnam, having enlisted. I also retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Quite a propaganda piece. I would like to ask the author how they are doing better for those exposed to Agent Orange? I met many Vietnam Vets with inflammatory bowel diseases, where is the service connection for these diseases?