Research

Obama’s Promises To Veterans Still Unfulfilled

As Obama Announces Another Veterans Jobs Initiative, Veterans Continue To Struggle With Unemployment And Long Backlogs At The VA

Today President Obama Will Announce His “Latest Joining Forces Initiative, A Program Designed To Help Find Jobs For Veterans And Military Spouses.” “President Obama turns his attention to military veterans on Tuesday. The president and first lady Michelle Obama will announce their latest Joining Forces initiative, a program designed to help find jobs for veterans and military spouses.” (David Jackson, “Obama’s Day: Veterans’ Jobs,” USA Today, 4/30/13)

Over Five Years Ago, Obama Promised “No More Homeless Veterans; No More Begging For Disability Payments; No More Waiting In Line For The V.A.” OBAMA: “And it means caring for our troops when they come home, not forgetting about our troops. No more homeless veterans; no more begging for disability payments; no more waiting in line for the V.A. We have a solemn obligation to honor those who have served on our behalf.” (Senator Barack Obama, Remarks Following The Wisconsin Primary, Houston, TX, 2/19/08)

But In Reality, “Life For Many Veterans Has Grown More Challenging Under Obama’s Watch,” With Higher Unemployment  For Returning Veterans And Longer Lines At The VA. “Yet, based on interviews with veterans, their advocates, and VA and other administration officials, as well as a review of available data, life for many veterans has grown more challenging under Obama’s watch. Veterans returning home today join lines for disability payments much longer than those Obama called intolerable in 2008. Their chances of finding jobs in a bleak economy are worse than those of most other Americans. Veterans’ complaints of employment discrimination by the federal government have actually risen. Veterans remain more likely to be homeless than the general population. The VA estimates more than 67,000 sleep in shelters and on the streets or are otherwise considered homeless, a figure that is only slightly better than in 2009. And improved data collection reveals just how bad the problem of suicide is among veterans. According to new data Reuters obtained from the VA, a veteran within the VA healthcare system tries to commit suicide about once every half-hour, on average.” (Phil Stewart, “Special Report: Obama’s Struggle To Mend Veterans’ Safety Net,” Reuters, 7/26/12)

The Unemployment Rate For Post-9/11 Era Veterans Remains Higher Than When Obama Took Office, Rising From 8.9 Percent In 2009 To 9.2 Percent Today. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 4/29/13)

  • The Unemployment Rate For Male Veterans Between 18 And 24 Years Old Is 33.1 Percent Versus 16.4 Percent For Non-Veteran Males Between 18 And 24 Years Old. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 4/29/13)

“The Ranks Of Veterans Waiting More Than A Year For Their Benefits Grew From 11,000 In 2009, The First Year Of Obama’s Presidency, To 245,000 In December – An Increase Of More Than 2,000 Percent.” (Aaron Glantz, “VA’s Ability To Quickly Provide Benefits Plummets Under Obama,” Center For Investigative Reporting, 3/11/13)

  • The Center For Investigative Reporting Found That The VA’s “Ability To Quickly Provide Service-Related Benefits Has Virtually Collapsed Under President Barack Obama.” “The Department of Veterans Affairs has failed to provide key information to Congress and the public that shows the agency’s ability to quickly provide service-related benefits has virtually collapsed under President Barack Obama.” (Aaron Glantz, “VA’s Ability To Quickly Provide Benefits Plummets Under Obama,” Center For Investigative Reporting, 3/11/13)
     
  • The Report Revealed That Veterans Are Waiting Between 316 And 327 Days For Their Claims To Be Processed, Far Longer Than The 273 Days That The VA Had Been Reporting. “Internal VA documents, obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting and authenticated by the agency, reveal that delays newly returning veterans face before receiving disability compensation and other benefits are far longer than the agency has publicly acknowledged. The documents also offer insight into some of the reasons for those delays. The agency tracks and widely reports the average wait time: 273 days. But the internal data indicates that veterans filing their first claim, including those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, wait nearly two months longer, between 316 and 327 days. Those filing for the first time in America’s major population centers wait up to twice as long – 642 days in New York, 619 days in Los Angeles and 542 days in Chicago.” (Aaron Glantz, “VA’s Ability To Quickly Provide Benefits Plummets Under Obama,” Center For Investigative Reporting, 3/11/13)

A Bipartisan Group Of 67 Senators Is Calling For “Direct And Public Involvement” From Obama “To Establish A Clear Plan To End The Backlog Once And For All.” “The majority of the U.S. Senate sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Friday, urging his ‘direct and public involvement’ in fixing the disability claims backlog plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs. ‘In the last four years, the number of claims pending for over a year has grown by over 2000%, despite a 40% increase in the VA’s budget,’ read the letter, which was signed by 67 senators, led by Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.). As a reminder, during this same time period, Congress has given VA everything it has asked for in terms of more funding and more employees; however, this has not eliminated the backlog of claims. Solving this problem is critical for veterans of all generations. We need direct and public involvement from you to establish a clear plan to end the backlog once and for all.” (Will Wrigley, “Obama Urged To Address Veterans Beneifts Backlog,” The Huffington Post , 4/29/13)