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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Veteran benefits backlogs due to forms and red-tape

As we approach the 4th of July a new study comes out shedding light on the hundreds of forms and more than a dozen agencies veterans have to sort through to get benefits.
    
The latest numbers show more than 600,000 veterans are backlogged and waiting for benefits...

This is just a fraction of the paperwork many veterans have had to fill out as they try to get disability benefits from the VA but many of them say it seems like a never ending battle.

First Petty Officer Bill Johnston retired from the Navy 15 years ago. Now he can't mow his lawn or even wash his car due to knee and back problems.

I'm hurting right now.
He's been battling the VA for 2 years to receive 100% disability.
You just get frustrated, tired of it, and you can't do anything, your hands are tied.

Johnston has nearly quit the process due to all the red tape.  Well when you look at the numbers you can understand why a study by the American Action Forum shows that when filing a claim veterans have to sort through as many as 18 different agencies and weed through more than 600 forms. This impacts everything from health to education benefits.

What time is your tutoring appt
This is why Marc Churchwell started a Veterans Resource Center at the University of West Florida. To be their advocate and walk them through all the paperwork.

Military Veteran Resource Center this is Laurie how can I help you
Trying to do it on your own, you have to figure it out and it takes some time.   When I came back to school it was so difficult I almost didn't go back to school

He says the problem is sheer numbers.
I don't think they are prepared for numbers that are leaving,   Its hard to keep up and I don't think they have a system capable of keeping.

Veteran's Affairs say they have made some headway on the backlog.  They say they cut the number of claims by 15 % in the past few weeks but
 US Representative Jeff Miller  says that isn't enough. The whole system has to be changed.

The biggest problem, they are still dealing with paper documents, needs to go through computerized system. They are still a long ways off from solving the problem. Dept of Defense has one system, VA has another system, and they do not communicate and talk to each other.

As far as Bill Johnston, all he can do is sit and wait and hope America takes care of those who gave so much.

"Not just me, a lot of veterans in the same boat"