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Do right by veterans

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Sunday, July 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Each year as Congress assembles, new legislation is introduced. Some bills relate to Vietnam veterans who did not have boots on ground. Many who served at sea and in the air need VA benefits — including compensation — for their survival.

Agent Orange Dioxin, a herbicide used in Vietnam from 1962 to 1973, causes many life-threatening diseases for those who served.

Congress and the VA are well aware of this. Despite this fact, Congress continues to fail our veterans. Without proper funding, the VA can not help many suffering Vietnam veterans. The backlog of submitted claims is overwhelming — it can take a year or more for the VA to review a claim.

Often, the veteran is asked to provide more evidence in support of a claim, but many do not know how or where to find additional evidence. Veteran Service Officers are trained by the VA to help but are overwhelmed with inquiries. They can only provide so much time, and it falls upon the veteran to locate evidence. Many vets just give up because they don't know how and where to find required evidence.

The VA should provide more resources to help veterans.

There is legislation out there to cut the red tape. The backlog can be significantly reduced for those who did not have boots on ground, but are sick nonetheless.

It is about the dollars and politics, not about the veteran. What is a veteran worth? The American people must step forward to urge Congress to do what is right for our nation's veterans.

John Bury

Media, Delaware County

The writer is a retired from the U.S. Navy, a Vietnam veteran and a veterans' activist.

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