The Veterans Administration is much in the news these days. It is aggravating to see the politicians from both parties either patting themselves on the back for all they have done for veterans, or blaming other politicians and administrators (never themselves) for the obvious problems. The fact remains that our promises to veterans are not being fulfilled and no one, on either side, should be happy with what they have done because it has not been enough. Not by a long shot.

I experienced this first-hand when I was helping my late brother Brian deal with the VA in connection with his service-related disability. I was impressed with the sincere dedication of the men and women who work at the VA. They were consistently helpful, courteous and truly concerned about Brian’s welfare. They shared my frustration with the fact that the system just does not work. They could not explain why it took months to get the basic paperwork processed. They could not explain why, after the paperwork was processed, it still took months to get the benefits started. They were embarrassed to explain that the benefits that were due, but for which the VA had not finished the paperwork, had expired upon Brian’s death. Their information management systems are outdated and their administrative hierarchy is convoluted.

The people in charge in Congress and at the VA need to stop taking credit or assigning blame and instead focus on fixing the problem. They owe our veterans at least that.

Mark Googins
Cumberland Foreside