Indiana, PA - Indiana County

ALLEN W. LOCKARD: Schram right about VA delays

on March 24, 2013 2:30 AM

The column by Martin Schram in the March 15 Gazette (“VA’s growing backlog needs attention now”) was right on target.

Let me start out by saying that every individual I have had the pleasure to work with from the VA has been a helpful, caring person.

My 89-year-old father, who lost his wife of nearly 64 years last April, moved into a personal care home last November.

We were thrilled to find out that he qualified for an assistance pension from the VA due to his service in World War II.

The pension and his Social Security would just about cover the cost of the home and his health care. This would give him the dignity of not relying on family for assistance. After all, he earned the benefits with his service to the country.

We applied in November and were told that the benefits would be retroactive to December when approved. When I checked with the local VA office recently, they told me that while some applications get approved in as few as two months, some take as long as a year. They also warned me that, if the applicant dies before the application is approved, nothing will be paid.

Surely our government could find better ways to save money than tying up WW II veterans’ payments until they die, while the IRS sends out refunds to dead people and scammers by the thousands.

Before you say this does not affect me, remember that after the so-called Affordable Care Act becomes fully implemented, virtually all will be covered by a government-run health plan. What if a Washington bureaucrat decides to withhold or delay medical procedures to you or yours to control costs?

Allen W. Lockard

Indiana

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lockard said that two days after writing this letter, his father’s VA benefits finally came through.

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