The Department of Veterans Affairs is getting a lot of well-deserved bad press these days for their inability to adequately help the men and women who serve our country. Not only are they ridiculously far behind in processing claims from Vets (recently these delays hit a 20-year high despite changes and statements that things are getting better!), there are big problems at Veterans Hospitals that have led to substandard conditions and even directly or indirectly caused deaths. It’s gotten so bad that some people are saying that the entire VA is broken and needs to be completely overhauled or done away with – along with those running it.
But while there are definitely plenty of things that need to be fixed about the VA, including a number of executive and administrative issues, it’s important to remember that most of the people who work in Veterans Affairs really do have the best interests of Vets at heart and try their hardest every day to get them the help they need.
It Takes One to Help One
I was reminded of this fact the other day when I read an article at The Atlantic Journal-Constitution from a VA worker and former member of the Armed Forces. Tommy Sowers says that he feels “privileged” to serve other Veterans, and brings up something that we would all be wise to remember when dealing with Veterans Affairs workers – many of them are Vets themselves.
Why is this so important? Because often it’s easier for Veterans to understand what others like themselves are going through. Appeal to them in the right way, and you’re likely to have another person on your side. And because they’re on the inside, they may know who to talk to or what channels to go through to get your claim processed as quickly as possible.
But more than this, you should know so that you can show them the respect that they deserve when dealing with them. The VA’s a huge bureaucracy and there’s a good chance that your claim will run into roadblocks along the way. Don’t take your frustration out on another Vet who’s just trying to do their job, though. As a Veterans Disability lawyer, I can tell you first hand that it’s a lot more effective if you can appeal to them and enlist them to your cause.