Dear Honorable Shinseki,
Good afternoon. My name is Master Sergeant Robert Thomas Bowman, I am a Veteran of 24+ years of service in the Army, and I retire in less than a month (1 October 2013). I have been involved in the VA claims process since 14 February 2013, and today (3 September 2013) I am writing you to describe to you how this process has gone for me and how I perceive the VA at this point. I will preface all my commentary by saying that despite the problems I have had, I am still one of the lucky ones. I am not physically disfigured from my service, am capable of working, and during my time in the Army I was fairly responsible with my finances and am not currently in any duress due to the VA disability compensation program and how slow things are moving. I could not imagine what it must be like for a young Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine who has served multiple combat tours in service of their country, cannot work because of their disabilities, has a family, and is waiting on this process to be completed to be able to pay their bills.
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H/T Castle Argghhh! on FB.
I’ve seen SwampHeathen1 deal with the VA, waiting on the phone for nearly an hour only to be disconnected, driving two hours to Birmingham to find out that the appointment had been cancelled and “oh sorry we forgot to tell you”, and fighting red tape and bureaucratic sclerosis at every turn. The people who have served this country deserve far, far better.