One of the many subjects Donald Trump has addressed in his bid for the Presidency is Veterans Aid. In his opinion the Department of Veterans Affairs’ health-care system is badly broken and American Veterans are not getting the help they deserve.
This week the Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump campaign released some guidelines that would steer changes to American veterans aid he would implement if he wins in November.
Although the statement did not go into details, it appears that the idea is to push the VA towards privatization and even perhaps an insurance model similar to Medicare. The notion that our veterans should get the best possible aid and care is one that should be applauded and supported. But since there is no specific plan yet, right now it’s just an idea.
When Mitt Romney spoke about this idea four years ago the VA stated that they would not support it. Ben Carson also proposed this last summer and seven different veterans groups made it very clear that they don’t agree with this approach. (Watch the Video)
May is Military Appreciation Month and we certainly hope that whoever wins in November will express their appreciation of our military – both current and veterans – and address the backlog of American Veterans Aid. They need to streamline the process so that every American veteran who is eligible for benefits gets helped in a timely fashion.
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When you think about our veterans I bet you are not thinking in the millions, but according to the Census Bureau there are 19.3 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces. 2.2 million troops have been deployed just in Iraq and Afghanistan. 44% of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan reported difficulties upon returning home.
That’s an awful lot of people who stepped up, put their lives on the line and helped to protect our freedoms. Yet when they come back home they often have a hard time getting help in return. Here are the top 25 complaints American veterans need help with:
- Unemployment – although the rate is down to 4.5% this is still a major complaint for the unemployed veterans. Resource: https://www.hireheroesusa.org/
- Traumatic Wounds – our current veterans have to deal with the after effects of wounds that service men and women of earlier wars did not have. Resource: https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org
- PTSD – 1 in 5 American veterans suffer from PTSD. Only half of them seek treatment and only half of those who do go for treatment get “minimally adequate” help (RAND study.) Recent recent has revealed that the go-to treatments, such as psycho-therapy, may not be as effective as hoped. (Journal of the American Medical Association) Resource: Alternative therapies are being used to treat PTSD. Try Yoga, QiGong and Meditation
- Suicide – 22 veterans take their own lives every day. This is a sad testament to the lack of help and the ineffective treatment veterans receive. Resource: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/
- Domestic Violence – male veterans who spent time in combat were more than four times as likely as other men to engage in domestic violence. Resources: http://www.thehotline.org/ http://www.militaryonesource.mil/
- Alcohol & Drug Addiction – 7.4% (1.4 million) American veterans have a substance abuse problem. Resource: http://www.benefits.gov/benefits/benefit-details/307
- Homelessness – 8.6% of our veterans are on the streets. That’s more than 1.5 million homeless veterans. Resource: http://nchv.org/index.php/help/help/immediate_help/
- A backlog of claims at the VA – This is a common complaint for the more than one million American veterans who are waiting for their claims to be processed. Resource: https://www.vawatchdog.org/
- Inadequate care – Another complaint is that the response from Federal agencies is slow and has not matched the magnitude of the veterans’ requirements. There are programs that can help older veterans. Resource: http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/aid_attendance_housebound.asp
- Access to aid and care as they grow older – 9.3 million American veterans are now over 65. As they age they get more problems and difficulties. Many of these older veterans don’t know that they are eligible for the Aid & Attendance benefit. Resource: http://www.americanveteransaid.com
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