Veterans deserve better

| Friday, July 19, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

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

It is well known Agent Orange dioxin, a herbicide used in Vietnam from 1962 to 1973, is cause for many life-threatening diseases for those who served.

Congress and the VA are well aware of this fact. But Congress continues to fail our veterans. Without proper funding, the VA cannot help many suffering veterans of the Vietnam War. 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. Many do not know where to find additional supporting evidence for their branch of service.

Veteran service officers are trained by the VA to help, but even they are overwhelmed with inquiries. The VA should provide these resources to help veterans.

Legislative bills, if passed, would cut the red tape. The backlog can be significantly reduced for those who did not have boots on ground. It's about the dollars and politics — not about the veterans.

What price is a veteran worth? The American people must step forward and urge the Congress to do what is right for our nation's veterans.

John J. Bury


The writer is a Vietnam War veteran, U.S. Navy, retired.

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