VSOs should back a PLUS Act that gives vets options

Disabled veterans are not stupid. Why are some members of Congress and even some Veteran Service Organizations acting like they are?

It’s no secret that the Department of Veterans Affairs has its challenges. I’m not here to attack the VA or the men and women who work there for all the right reasons. The department certainly has hurdles to overcome, from a six-figure backlog of disability claims to a ballooning budget to infrastructure and staffing issues. At the end of the day, we are grateful that our federal government dedicates massive resources to the cause of protecting and caring for those who have made untold sacrifices for our country.

That doesn’t change the fact that the process for claiming disability benefits is onerous, time-consuming and fraught with uncertainty. There are currently 1.1 million pending claims, each with an average wait time of 132 days. That’s roughly four and a half months for a basic claim. That is simply unacceptable — and our veterans deserve better. Love it or hate it, the VA’s status quo simply cannot continue, especially with the crises of mental health, homelessness, addiction, and the alarming rate of veteran suicides, averaging 16.8 deaths per day, which continues to afflict our nation’s heroes.