By Lancaster resident Candice Garvin-Johnson
On March 4, 2015, “Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act of 2015, H.R. 1331” was introduced to the House of Representatives in support of our veterans. This bill was brought forth by Timothy J. Walz, a Representative of Minnesota who believed that “Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act of 2015” will positively aid in timely medical evaluations, disability compensation and treatment for veterans and their families.
If the bill passes, it will require the Department of Veterans Affairs to accept medical evidence that is provided by non-Department of Veterans Affairs medical professionals in support of claims for disability compensation under the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes (congress.gov, 2015). The overall objective of the bill is to prevent the denial of medical evidence provided by private professionals and to limit or stop unnecessary delays in veteran services.
The bill will provide veterans with the option to seek their own doctors and professionals. This will not only avoid lengthy waiting periods, but will also give choice when it comes to their health matters. While our veterans wait to hear the outcomes of a referral to a Department of Veterans Affairs medical professional, negative effects have taken place due to the length of time a referral has taken to be approved.
The suicide rate for veterans is currently reported as 22 suicides a day in the U.S (va.gov, 2015). As veterans return home, they are trying to familiarize with the people around them. This could be a hard transition for veterans, especially those who suffer from PTSD.
Without the proper services, veterans may go through a depression that may lead to suicide, drugs and alcohol. The damage caused by unnecessary delays in veteran services may seem petty to those who are unaware of the suicides and self-medicating our veterans turn to when they are incapable of providing for their families due to mental illness, PTSD and financial hardships. This is something that needs to be addressed.
The negative results that are taking place because of the delay in veteran services is in many ways our nation failing those who fought for the welfare of our country.
We owe our veterans the support in transitioning into the civilian environment they once lived. It is not a favor they served, but a selfless choice they made to fight on behalf of the American people. This is why it is a necessary obligation that we as citizens join the fight for the rights of all veterans.
I urge the residences of all communities to support those who have fought for us. Please reach out to your Congressmen, and help support H.R. 1331.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The AV Times.
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