The Department of Veterans Affairs, formerly the Veterans Administration and still commonly referred to as the “VA,” is the second largest Cabinet department reporting to the executive branch of our government, with over 275,000 employees and a $90 billion budget. Despite its size, the VA does run an efficient office; however, most people learn that its size will often lead to long delays and confusion.
Divided into 3 business units, the VA is made up of the Veterans Health Administration, the National Cemetery Administration and the Veterans Benefits Administration. Veterans health care is often lauded as the best available and the national cemeteries honor our service men, women and families remarkably well.
Despite the apparent simplicity of the process, American military veterans who apply for compensation and pension benefits often end up angry, dazed and confused long before any benefits are received. Two important causes of the anger and confusion are (1) the long and growing delays in resolving claims and (2) the seemingly endless layers of rules, regulations, and practices that as often as not act as barriers to properly resolving claims rather that the guides for obtaining an award that they were intended.
Often I will meet with veterans that hear about benefit planning but have received misinformation regarding the benefits or believe that they have to actually retire or disabled through service to receive benefits. This is not the case. The VA offers several different benefit programs which can be easily obtained by a veteran through proper planning with the assistance of an accredited individual.