Your morning daily veterans news update for Monday, August 4:
As disability awards grow, so do concerns with veracity of PTSD claims (Los Angeles Times)
As disability awards for PTSD have grown nearly fivefold over the last 13 years, so have concerns that many veterans might be exaggerating or lying to win benefits. One psychologist, Robert Moering, a former Marine, estimates that roughly half of the veterans he evaluates for the disorder exaggerate or fabricate symptoms.
Advocates list 7 things to fix at Veterans Affairs (USA Today)
Advocates say incoming VA chief Robert McDonald must change biases, attitudes, goals, budgets, management and expectations in a behemoth born in 1930. 1. Fill in the blanks. 2. Work toward quality, not numbers. 3. Embrace Millenials and their trappings. 4. Treat veterans like consumers, not enemies. 5. Check the numbers. 6. Make an app for that. 7. Kill the callousness.
Scandal pays off for the VA (Wall Street Journal)
There’s nothing like an imminent August recess to focus Congressional minds, usually in expensive directions. This summer’s example is the $17 billion that purports to fix the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Congress’s parting gift last week to that failed bureaucracy.
VA still in no rush to provide benefits to veterans (Allentown Morning Call)
One veteran said when his benefits were approved, the VA sent him a letter saying it couldn’t pay his wife’s benefits until he provided her Social Security number. The veteran called that day with the number. “They said ‘That’s all we need,'” he recalled. That was on June 18, 2013. More than a year later, his wife hadn’t received a penny.
Opinion: Vets with other-than-dishonorable discharge denied life-saving benefits (Miami Herald)
Unfortunately, despite our collective commitment to provide for those who served in uniform, many who experienced combat and received serious physical and psychological wounds do not benefit from society’s attention and resources because they are not considered “veterans” under federal law.
Column: VA now needs agility on health care’s front lines (Boston Globe)
All the money can’t undo the VA’s biggest problem — it has become a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy, and bureaucracies are not made to deal with crises like the one facing American veterans. It is beyond disgraceful that those of the next greatest generation, the men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, have returned to a country that can’t or won’t take care of them.
University of Phoenix campus is cleared in dispute over veterans’ enrollment (Chronicle of Higher Education)
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said on Friday that an enrollment dispute concerning veterans in some programs at the University of Phoenix’s San Diego campus had been resolved. A VA spokesperson said information provided to California officials “demonstrated enrollments in the programs in question did not exceed 85 percent VA beneficiaries and that Phoenix’s programs were in compliance.”
Married gay veterans’ next battle is for equal VA benefits (Las Vegas Sun)
Although the military recognized their union, the Veterans Affairs department did not. The Wilkinsons needed the VA to guarantee their $175,000 bank loan, a service the department provides to active-duty service members and veterans. Wilkinson qualified for up to $200,000 in loan guarantees from the VA when he was single, but once he got married, the VA would back only half of his loan.
El Paso homeless shelter to focus on female veterans (Texas Tribune)
In October 2011, Hope Jackson used her own money to buy a $70,000 house on the city’s northeast side that she calls the Rutherford House of Peace. It is one component of her plan called the HOPE (Healing, Optimizing, Perfecting and Empowering) Institute, which will include a similar unit for female veterans with children two miles away. The program will include classes on topics ranging from basic hygiene to credit repair, homeownership and résumé building. The first 16 weeks are paid for by the HOPE Institute, Jackson said. After that, tenants need to have a job.