A May 23, 2014 article in the Huffington Post, “Firing Shinseki Will Not Solve the Problem of an Underfunded VA,” led with and discussed at length the 2007 VCS lawsuit against VA. According to author H.A. Goodman:
In 2007, the Veterans United for Truth and Veterans for Common Sense (VCS) filed a lawsuit against Erik K. Shinseki and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Acknowledging the chronic delays and denials of issues like PTSD and traumatic brain injuries by the VA, a federal court in 2012 still decided not to try the case. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “Congress and the President are in a far better position” to address the myriad of issues faced by returning veterans. In 2013, the Supreme Court also declined to hear the case and in response, and the VCS issued the following statement:
Last year, the families of nearly 20,000 veterans were paid disability benefits after the veterans died. A shocking 18 veterans commit suicide every day. More than 12,000 veterans call VA for suicide prevention each month. During our nation’s worst economic disaster in 80 years, more than 1.1 million veterans still await VA disability claim decisions. Of those, 900,000 cases wait an average of nine months for a new or re-opened claim decision, plus an additional 250,000 cases wait four more years for an appealed claim decision… While our veterans wait, they remain unable to pay their mortgage or rent, and face great challenges feeding their families.
The VCS also cited “decades of underfunding” as one of the reasons the “VA remains mired in crisis.” The VCS concluded its reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision by calling for Congress and Mr. Shinseki to, “make sure VA has the funding, staffing, laws, regulations, training, and oversight urgently needed so no more Veterans die while waiting.”
The fact that federal courts have placed the responsibility for this dreadful state of affairs upon the shoulders of lawmakers highlights the nature of this problem: it’s the fault of Congress. In 2002, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget estimated the cost of the Iraq War to be $50 to $60 billion. According to Brown University’s Watson Institute for International ….
Read the full article here.