No End In Sight: Disability Benefits For Veterans Further Delayed

Last month, we highlighted an article by 2011 Ochberg fellow Aaron Glantz that featured veterans who died before they began receiving the disability benefits and pensions that they had earned, and a promise from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to remedy this problem “right away.” In a follow-up story, Glantz points out that in fact, efforts to remedy the problem are not going well.

According to Glantz's new report, a $537 million effort to computerize veterans’ disability claims has successfully processed just 75 claims, and the computer system has even increased delays in the places it has been deployed. Analysis from the Center for Investigative Reporting shows that since July 11, 2012, the number of veterans facing long waits has increased by 18,000.

Unfortunately this is one of many difficulties veterans face when returning home (for a Dart report on those issues, click here), and one that journalists must be sensitive to when conducting interviews. In 2011, the Dart Center hosted a two-day workshop entitled "When Veterans Come Home" to help journalists and news organizations report on veterans knowledgably, ethically and effectively. Click here for audio, tip sheets and other resources from the workshop.