Deserving vets still at war -- with red tape

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Once again, Missouri officials are worried that not enough money is being spent on costly programs for its citizens.

The latest concern is that only 42,000 of the state's 550,000 eligible veterans are seeking benefits. So state officials are cranking up the effort to get more veterans to apply. Never mind that these same state officials are moaning about a "shortfall" in revenue (see the editorial above) which isn't a shortfall at all.

Missouri officials went through much of this same song and dance a couple of years ago when not enough of the state's poor children signed up for health-care benefits.

There are any number of reasons people don't seek government handouts.

But the best explanation why many veterans aren't getting the assistance they need comes from those who have been mired for months or years in government red tape.

Instead of spending $350,000 on a public-relations campaign to lure more needy veterans, Missouri ought to work at becoming the state that makes it relatively easy for deserving veterans to get the benefits they've earned.

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