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
May 27, 2016
Riot police block off the Albuquerque Convention Center to anti-Trump protests following a rally and speech by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the convention center where the event was held, in Albuquerque, N.M., Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Obama at Hiroshima. Turmoil at Trump rallies. Clinton’s emails, heating up. Sanders predicts a “messy” convention. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

May 27, 2016
In this Oct. 27, 2015, photo,  Big Muddy Farms, an urban farm in northern Omaha, Neb. is seen amongst residential homes. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, we’ve got top gardeners spilling the beans on how to grow everything.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 26, 2016
This March 16, 2015 photo shows portraits of now-retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Marshall Powell, right, and his wife, Arasi, at their home in Crescent, Okla. Powell suffers from a psychological wound called "moral injury" after serving as an Army nurse in Iraq and Afghanistan. Arasi, also a soldier who served in Iraq, had received treatment for PTSD. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

In advance of Memorial Day, we’ll talk with Sebastian Junger about vets coming home and missing their “Tribe.” Plus, a WWII veteran remembers life on and off and the battlefield.

 
May 26, 2016
This Jan. 26, 2016 file photo shows a "For Sale" sign hanging in front of an existing home in Atlanta.  Short of savings and burdened by debt, America's millennials are struggling to afford their first homes in the face of sharply higher prices in many of the most desirable cities. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

No more ’empty nest’. A third of millennials now live at home with their parents. We’ll look at what’s still pushing that trend.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
WWII Vet Larry Kirby Reflects On American Values
Thursday, May 26, 2016

Looking ahead to Memorial Day, a World War II veteran looks back at the experiences that mattered to him, both in and out of war.

More »
Comment
 
Gloria Steinem Explains Her ‘Bernie Boys’ Comment
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem explains why her apparent diss of female supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders was anything but.

More »
Comment
 
‘Best Of’ 2016 Commencement Speeches
Monday, May 16, 2016

Excerpts from a few of the best commencement speeches delivered to the graduating class of 2016.

More »
Comment