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Historic Lawsuit Challenges Unacceptable Delays in Delivering Benefits to America's Veterans by Department of Veterans Affairs
Date:11/10/2008

plans - which process more than 30 billion claims a year - process claims and related appeals in less than three months.

"As a matter of both policy and practice, the VA subjects veterans to long delays before receiving any of the benefits to which they are entitled," said Donald Overton, Executive Director, Veterans of Modern Warfare. "Our hope is that this lawsuit will compel the VA to process veterans' benefits claims more quickly and honor our nation's commitment to those that have defended and served."

"All veterans will benefit significantly from the legal action of VVA and VMW," said Robert Cattanach, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney. "The intervention of VVA and VMW is necessary because under federal law individual veterans are not allowed to access the judicial system. Dorsey & Whitney is committed to helping America's veterans quickly secure the benefits they have earned from the VA."

There are approximately 25 million veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces alive today. More than 7 million of those veterans are enrolled in the VA's healthcare system, and approximately 3.4 million veterans receive benefits. More than 600,000 VA benefits claims are backlogged - this number will only increase as the 1.7 million troops that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to return home.

"A soldier's transition to civilian life is challenging. The VA's failure to diagnose PTSD promptly and accurately, and the corresponding delay in the award of benefits, plainly results in veterans being denied this critical lifeline," said Dr. Charles R. Figley, PTSD expert and author, of Tulane University. "VVA and VMW's lawsuit will help to reduce this additional and, in many cases, unmanageable stress for veterans."

According to the VA, the suicide rate among individuals in the VA's care may be as high as 7.5 times the national average. Delays in awarding benefits to America's veterans increases the suffering of individuals already struggling with an ina
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SOURCE Vietnam Veterans of America; Veterans of Modern Warfare
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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