During an appearance on MSNBC, Aaron Glantz of the Center for Investigative Reporting explained why the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was failing to process so many disability benefits claims.
“The central problem facing the VA is that they’re not able to deal with this flood of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans coming home at the same time that a lot of Vietnam veterans are finally being allowed to claim illnesses caused by Agent Orange,” he said. “This is a paperwork problem. You know, they have so much paperwork that they just simply can’t put it through.”
Glantz reported earlier this month that the number of veterans waiting more than a year for their benefits increased more than 2,000 percent from 2009 to 2012. There are currently about 900,000 veterans waiting to receive their benefits.
“The documents that we obtained showed that even though they had spent half a billion dollars trying to computerizes this thing over the last four years, 97 percent of these claims are still on paper,” he added. “There’s a complete dysfunctionality, there’s bad management at most of their regional offices and at the end of the day what this means is if you come home from Iraq or Afghanistan and file your first claim in New York City, you’re going to be waiting an average of 642 days for your benefits.”
Kayla Williams, a former intelligence specialist, noted 37 percent of people in the backlog were Vietnam veterans. The VA began accepting claims for disabilities related to Agent Orange exposure in 2009, a decision she described as “morally right.”
The department plans to have all disability claims processed within 125 days with 98 percent accuracy by 2015. Glantz said the VA had successfully modernized its medical records system, but simply “dropped the ball” when it came to disability claims.
Watch video, courtesy of MSNBC, below:
WATCH: Trump stops ABC film crew to restart interview after his chief of staff coughed
President Donald Trump was very displeased when his chief of staff had the audacity to cough or sneeze during his interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos. The full interview finally aired on "20/20" Sunday, showing the president in the Oval Office and outside in the Rose Garden.
The ABC interview showed the moment where Mick Mulvaney coughed, and Trump stopped the interview abruptly.
The two were discussing why Trump wouldn't release his taxes.
Trump spends ABC interview trying to discredit Robert Mueller as ‘conflicted’
President Donald Trump spent most of his interview with George Stephanopoulos blasting Special Counsel Robert Mueller, while he incorrectly quoted the report he published.
"I don't care what he says. It doesn't matter," Trump said when Stephanopoulos cited the Mueller report. "He wanted to show everyone what a good counsel he was. Now, he may have gotten confused said with that fact that I've always said, 'Robert Mueller was conflicted. He had numerous conflicts. One of them was the fact that he applied for to job to be the FBI director -- the head of the FBI. And, by the way --"
Stephanopoulos stepped in to say that former top aide Steve Bannon said that it never happened.
Donald Trump whines: ‘My life has always been a fight’
The full interview with President Donald Trump finally aired on ABC Sunday, revealing the shocking way that he views his life.
Trump lamented that he's had such a hard life, as the son of multi-millionaires who paid to get him out of trouble multiple times.
"You're a fighter. You, you, it feels like you're in a constant kind of churn--" host George Stephanopoulos began.
"Yeah, uh, my life has always been a fight," Trump said. "And I enjoy that I guess, I don't know if I enjoy it or not, I guess -- sometimes I have false fights like the Russian witch hunt. That's a false fight. That's a made-up, uh, hoax. And I had to fight that."