Steve Inskeep's interview with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Gen. Shinseki would indicate … maybe not.
A few key points:
— Steve noted that “it may be startling to some people to realize that the backlog … pending cases, pending disability clams at the V.A. has soared in this year and is now above 700,000.”
Shinseki said that “last year when we talked … (it was) probably 4 to 500,000.”
The V.A. closed about 900,000 cases last year, Shinseki said, “and then we got 1 million cases back in. These are new cases, for the most part.”
— Has the weak economy meant that many veterans who used to have employer-provided health care are now turning to the V.A. for help?
“That's a good point,” Shinseki said. “Over the past, probably 18 months, the economic downturn has had that impact on families.”
— Homelessness among veterans has also contributed to the increase in the backlog of cases, Shinseki said. While the department has “committed to ending homelessness” among veterans within five years, the effort is “just not going fast enough.”
The idea that we're not providing adequate support for people who have given their souls, bodies, and minds for our safety … it's just damned shocking. The very phrase “homeless vet” is appalling in and of itself.
Maybe something on which we can get bipartisan movement in the new Congress. Just a thought.