The year 2014 ends very much as did 2011 for this particular veteran: three claims in the mill awaiting VA attention. Three claims in appeals awaiting VA attention.
If I didn't have other resources to meet my financial and medical needs, I don't know how our family would have survived waiting for VA action on my requests for service connection. Amazing that illnesses and injuries incurred before I left Active Duty are denied by VA with the statement...pulled from somebody's imagination who didn't bother reading the C file, that they arose after the military.
For instance, I was treated at Bethesda Naval Hospital in 1992 for a broken foot (while on AD, and TDY to Bethesda for spine surgery!) but the claim for continued problems denied with VA insisting there is no service record....other than the six volumes of materials the military already provided.
The same situation with bilateral shoulder injuries, etc.
However – we all are proud of the tremendous job Veterans Benefits Administration has done bringing down their inventory of over-aged first-time claims. This work is vital because until a vet's claim is approved, VA denies treatment for the injury unless the person is somehow otherwise eligible for care. Congratulations to VA's regional offices and staff.
However – today's veterans waiting over a year on average is still too long to wait to have cancers, heart disease, and other ailments and injuries postponed for treatment. Where is the veteran to turn in the interim? Charity hospitals? VA should have some sort of immediate review of a claim to filter out obviously qualified applicants and provide a period of presumptive eligibility until such claims are finally adjudicated.
Nobody in American society except veterans gets turned away from hospital doors because their health insurance provider (here, the VA) can't find the time to process endless piles of forms, half of which seem designed to disqualify, rather than affirm eligibility.
Happy New Year, and God Bless all veterans, their families, and those in the Department of Veterans Affairs claims offices who are working so hard on our behalf. Perhaps theirs is too often a thankless job, with more paperwork coming in each day than can be shoveled out in the hours available...but they keep trying.