EconFact 09/09: Army Strong(ly in need of Reform).

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As the US Congress is debating entering another conflict, one factor may sway their decision: the cost of veterans. The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the government body responsible for healthcare claims as well as other post-conflict benefits for veterans, projected their budget to balloon too around $153 billion dollars which is about double the budget it received in 2005. In comparison, the VA office spent $87 billion in 1947, right after World War II, and $77 billion in 1976 after the Vietnam war. There are around 1,800 VA facilities around the country.

Record-high malpractice suits, rising number of veterans coming back, a mis-match between the Defense Department health records and VA records, a confusing policy regarding same-sex couples and a massive backlog plague the government institution. Despite all this, leadership of the VA department are still $5.5 million dollars worth bonuses even though half a million veterans waiting more than 125 days for their claims to be acknowledged. There are literally such a backlog that the papers cause a safety risk to VA employees. 

Sounds like an audit should be in order.

Takeaway: For a soldier, dealing with bureaucracy of the Veteran Affairs department can be as complicated as conflicts abroad.

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