US veterans face financial ruin waiting for benefits from overburdened VA
by: J. D. Heyes
Sunday, May 27, 2012
We depend on them to protect our country, our lives, our freedom, our way of life. So why does our government continue to shortchange our veterans by chronically underfunding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), especially at a time when our vets need the VA the most?
As lawmakers and the president continue to pour billions into social programs that help earn them votes, once again the nation’s veterans are getting the shaft. Take the case of Rebecca Tew, a 43-year-old psychologist who fought for seven years to get benefits due her husband, Duane Kozlowski, after he left the Army with brain damage and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) so bad he couldn’t hold a job.
Eventually she got them, but not before she borrowed $20,000 from family, ran up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills for Duane, stopped paying on student loans and ruined her credit in the process. As of this writing, she was working on finding a landlord willing to rent to her, her husband and their five children.
“It’s basically been like a tornado,” she told BusinessWeek, regarding her dealings with the VA. “It’s wiped out our future. It’s wiped out our relationship with our extended family. It’s wiped everything out and we’re starting out again below ground.”