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
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 20, 2014
A shot from the AMC reality series, "Freakshow." (Jessica Brooks / AMC)

From TV to Broadway, circus sideshows — freak shows — are having a big cultural moment. What’s the history behind the comeback?

 
Nov 20, 2014
In this file photo, Hillsborough Sheriff deputy patrols outside the gate of JP Morgan Chase annual stockholders meeting held Tuesday, May 15, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. JP Morgan is one of several large financial institutions currently under investigation for alleged violation of Federal bankruptcy laws. (AP)

You’re supposed to have a clean slate after bankruptcy. But that’s not always true. We’ll ask what’s going on.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: November 14, 2014
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

On why we tweet, what we like and a Miley Cyrus and “Serial” theme song mashup you never knew you needed.

More »
Comment
 
Guest Post: U.S.-China Climate Deal is an Important Step In Long Road Ahead
Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014

After a landmark agreement between the US and China on climate change policy and clean energy development, a recent On Point guest reflects on what’s important in this new deal.

More »
Comment