90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Price Of War

We look at veterans back from war and waiting way too long for benefits. The price of war delayed and denied.

Marine Cpl. Tyler Huffman looks over a waterfall at the 9/11 Memorial in New York. (AP)

Marine Cpl. Tyler Huffman looks over a waterfall at the 9/11 Memorial in New York. (AP)

Apparent meltdown at the VA over getting benefits to veterans.

As vets have crowded home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – with all kinds of needs and wounds and disabilities – waiting times for help have soared. 273 days on average, for vets with immediate problems.

642 days for vets in New York. 619 in LA. 500-plus days in Chicago. Nearly a million vets waiting. 600,000 backlogged. Applications lost. Vets in trouble.

It’s a scandal. And maybe a sign of a country delaying and denying the true cost of war.

This hour On Point: veterans back from war and backlogged.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Aaron Glantz, Reporter for the Center for Investigative Reporting covering veterans and domestic military issues, and author of “The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle against America’s Veterans” (2009). (@Aaron_Glantz)

Linda Bilmes, Professor of public policy, Harvard University, and author of: The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict” (with Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2008).

Jeff Miller, Republican U.S. Representative for Florida, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Tom Tarantino, Chief of Policy, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).

From Tom’s Reading List

Center for Investigative Reporting “Despite agency promises to eliminate the claims backlog by 2015, the internal documents show the VA expects the number of veterans waiting – currently about 900,000 – to continue to increase throughout 2013 and top a million by the end of this month.” (March 2013.)

The Hill “Shinseki said a lack of funding was not the issue, noting that his department has received 40 percent in budget increases over the past four years, while most other agencies have taken hits. He instead pointed to the massive amount of paperwork that needed to be transferred to digital formats, the need to sync with Department of Defense (DOD) records and the addition of more veterans who qualify for disability claims as reasons for the backlog.”

USA Today “Allison Hickey, the retired Air Force brigadier general who for two years has been VA’s undersecretary for benefits, said she continues to believe it is possible to eliminate the backlog of claims by the end of 2015 and to complete initial claims within 125 days with 98% accuracy.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 3, 2015
A group of community activists in San Francisco, CA celebrate that city's February 2014 embrace of the Fair Chance Campaign's efforts to alter background checks on employment and housing for convicted criminals. (Courtesy All of Us Or None)

Is it time to stop asking job applicants if they’ve been convicted of a crime? We’ll look at employment and unemployment after prison.

Mar 3, 2015
This July 21, 2014 photo shows strawberry banana chia breakfast smoothie in Concord, N.H. Breakfast habits in America are changing, leading to dramatic shifts in business strategy. (AP)

Food guidelines are changing. So is what we eat for breakfast. Cereal? Out of favor. Eggs? Maybe OK. And all kinds of new menus. We’ll look at Americans and breakfast.

RECENT
SHOWS
Mar 2, 2015
This image provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows an artists rendering on how a gamma ray burst occurs with a massive star collapsing and creating a black hole and beaming out focused and deadly light and radiation bursts. Astronomers and space telescopes in April 2013 saw the biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed, a large gamma ray burst. (AP)

A super-massive black hole, newly discovered, deep in space. We’ll peer into the realm of the black hole.

 
Mar 2, 2015
In this Tuesday, March 4, 2014 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara, right, speaks before the screening of the television documentary "Israel: The Royal Tour" at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. (AP)

On the eve of Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s controversial address to Congress, we look at the US-Israel falling out over Iran nuclear negotiations.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Answers To Your Questions On Black Holes
Tuesday, Mar 3, 2015

Yale University’s Priyamvada Natarajan answers your black hole questions in full. (Well, most of them.)

More »
Comment
 
Want To Listen To Lead Belly? Here’s Where To Start
Monday, Mar 2, 2015

Loved our show on Lead Belly, but unsure on where you should start to listen? Jeff Place of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage offers his best picks for a beginning Lead Belly listener.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 27, 2015
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

We won’t lead you into a debate on the color of #TheDress (it’s blue and black, end of debate), but we do wonder about the blurring lines between so-called Internet culture and general popular culture. Also, it’s snowing in Boston. Still.

More »
Comment