Despite all of the wonderful benefits that United States veterans receive, many former servicemen and women lack basic necessities including health care and housing. It is absolutely absurd that in 2015 our veterans are still left in the dark when it comes to certain benefits, and this must change.
Here are five very important things that all U.S. veterans lack, but should receive:
1. Affordable health insurance.
A 2014 study found that more than 1.2 million veterans lack health care insurance. Texas and Florida, the states with the largest uninsured veteran population, both opposed the Medicaid expansion from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While most of the uninsured veterans should be eligible for receiving coverage from the ACA, 13 percent of them would still lack health insurance.
2. Medical care accessibility.
The 5.6 million veterans living rural areas face an additional challenge when dealing with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: their geographic distance from the offices. Most veterans in rural areas, are generally older than the rest of the veteran population, and have limited transportation options. One solution is to have the VA pay for checkups with private doctors in rural areas, but that hasn't been implemented yet.
3. Affordable housing.
The VA lacks enough resources to help hundreds of thousands of estimated homeless veterans receive housing. There are numerous economic factors behind the growing number of homeless veterans. Fifty-six percent of all homeless veterans are also African-American or Hispanic.
4. Sufficient mental health care.
About 30 percent of veterans could have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and yet it seems that the available treatment might not work. The U.S. spends billions annually to treat PTSD in veterans and yet it is reported that there is no evidence that the PTSD treatment is actually working. Without any data, there's no way to say that veterans are receiving the best care they need for PTSD.
5. Expedient disability claims.
In order for a veteran to receive disability benefits from the VA, they have to first file a claim. It used to be the standard that veterans would wait 125 days in order to have the claim go through, which is bad enough. By 2012, that number jumped to 256 days because of a backlog. It is absurd that veterans should wait that long through the process just to get the benefits that they deserve.