Letter to the Editor

Vets who seek assistance find lots of red tape

Saturday, November 24, 2001

To the editor:

This is regarding the article, "Many Missouri veterans missing out on benefits."

I can tell you why most veterans do not apply for benefits: The process is a nightmare. I am the wife and daughter of veterans. I am trying to help my father file a claim and am still waiting after seven months for any word on the status of his claim. My father had been trying to go through the VA system for almost 20 years with no success.

Let me give you an idea of the last phone call I made. The gentleman told me there had been no additional work on this file since July. When I asked why it took four months to get a file, he said he did not know. I asked what happened when they did not get a response back from a request to Records Management. He replied that if it's been a long time, they e-mail another request. I asked him to e-mail that request. He said he would but that it wouldn't speed anything up. I also asked him for the Records Management number so I could call myself. I talked to the customer-service department and was told they couldn't even check the request. I asked to talk to a supervisor. The supervisor would not talk to me. This is just one of a dozen phone calls I've made like this.

Now you can understand just a little of the frustration veterans go through. It takes either a lawyer or a very stubborn person to get any progress. The $350,000 that is being spent on an awareness campaign would be better used to make the process less stressful.


Marble Hill, Mo.