Veterans asked to fight by the government are currently facing insurmountable challenges now that they are home and out of the service. Currently, it takes on average, more than a year for them to have their disabilities compensated. This is a sad shame.
I personally waited over three years for my disability claim to be processed, and in the mean time, I could not get help for conditions that were present in my life associated with the disabilities. It is not to say that I cannot function as an person, but there are some things that do require professional guidance and medical assistance to bring a better level of functioning in the real world.
This is not ok at all. There is no reason why our veterans should have to wait so long for the help they need. I have been writing my representatives with suggestions, but so far, they have fallen on deaf ears.
One of the easiest methods I can think of to immediately help our veterans facing the uphill climb still is to streamline the process a little bit. There are two very common injuries from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: Traumatic Brain Injury, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
My solutions for these two conditions are simple:
(1) If a veteran is involved in an IED blast, mortar attack, rocket attack, etc. (immediate proximity to explosions) you give them an immediate 0% rating. This will keep them at a non-compensatible rate until they can be fully evaluated, but will ensure they can receive help for conditions associated with the TBI. Once the evaluation is complete as normal, they would then have a determination of whether they will get compensation rated disability.
(2) If a veteran exhibits any signs of PTSD, they too are to be given an immediate 0% rating so they can be treated. I know first hand what it is like to wait. I wish that I would have gotten help sooner than I did, because it causes much suffering in this invisible wound. I have also seen many of my friends commit suicide while waiting for the VA to help. The counseling services and other treatments given, if applied sooner, lessen the chances of PTSD becoming extremely problematic, and this could also help stem the suicide rate among veterans. Currently we are facing between 15-22 veterans taking their lives every single day.
If we could apply these plans to what the VA does, and ensure that the medical commands of the veteran’s unit are submitting the VA with paperwork upon any diagnosis, the wait for help would dramatically increase.
I also believe that the Pentagon needs to do a better job with transition training. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I believe that the medical commands need to get diagnosis over to the VA record system for a more seamless transition into the civilian sector. Leaders also need to do more to educate the service members on keeping and making copies of their medical records after every visit to their medic/doctor. Records loss is also a big problem with a lot of the wait.
I would recommend if you are a reader of mine, if you do nothing else that I have asked, you please call and write your representatives about what I talked about today. It is paramount our veterans get the help they need. Please be a voice for them.