5 Criticisms of the Veterans Administration Benefits Process

Veterans Administration benefits are available to all active duty service persons or individuals who have been discharged from the military in an honorable manner. These benefits range in scope from financial assistance to medical assistance. While the aim of VA benefits is never questioned, the practice of actually receiving the benefits is often criticized. 

#1 Lengthy Delays

When a veteran or service person sees a medical professional, they will use VA benefits often instead of traditional insurance. The process for filing a claim is similar. The doctor's office or hospital will send forms directly to the VA. The VA will then ask for additional information from the individual in most cases. The VA is so bogged down in claims, however, that the requests often see lengthy delays. At times, the individual will be asked to pay the medical professional directly due to the lapse in response. 

#2 Too Much Paperwork

Once the VA responds, it will typically request lengthy medical records from the individual or physician. This is particularly true with mental health records or long-term conditions. The VA must verify the condition is indeed present, and it does this by asking for form after form from the individual. The paperwork can be overwhelming.

#3 Excess Medical Examinations

Even after receiving a plethora of information and forms for the claim, the VA will often request an independent medical examination to verify a medical condition. While this occurs free of charge to the individual, it can delay the process even further. It can also cause undue hardship on some individuals who must travel to VA service centers in order to meet with a professional. Further, this professional will not be familiar with the individual's medical history. Judgement is passed based on a one-time, limited examination of the individual's condition.

#4 Frequent Denials

The VA, in the end, is not that different from a private insurance company. It is operating a business; and that business cannot run at a loss. As a result, the VA can only pay out claims to a limited extent. Once claims get to be too expensive, the VA will have to eventually deny payment. Once payment is denied, there is little an individual can do to ultimately collect. This can place veterans in need of assistance in a very bad financial situation or compromised health care environment.

#5 Long Lawsuits

If a veteran would like to attempt to collect on an unpaid claim, the only option is a lawsuit with the VA. This is costly, and it can further delay the process of collecting. In the meantime, the individual may have to make all medical payments out of pocket to service providers on the denied claim. Then, the individual must pay attorneys fees and court fees. Even if a judge sides with the plaintiff, the lawsuit can drag on for a year or more. From top to bottom, collecting on the claim can take many years. The support offered to the individual is limited while this interaction takes place, leaving him or her to simply cope until the judge renders a decision.

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