The Navy Seal who killed Osama bin Laden left the military with no pension, few job prospects and no protection for himself or his family. Why does one of the most decorated combat veterans of our age have no landing pad in civilian life?
For the first time, the man responsible for killing Al Qaeda’s leader tells his story, giving an in-depth look at the raid that changed history, and how the U.S. government has failed to help its most skilled warriors when they return home from service. Read the full story, produced in cooperation with Esquire.
Winston-Salem VA office has a paperwork problem
Yesterday, we launched a new investigation revealing the extent of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ backlog in processing disabled veterans’ benefits claims. In a new report, the VA Office of Inspector General offers visual evidence of the backlog at the regional office in Winston-Salem, N.C., where paperwork for the claims is piled so high it has “created an unsafe workspace for VARO employees and appeared to have the potential to compromise the integrity of the building.”
According to the report, the sheer volume and haphazard storage of the files prevents employees from easily accessing them, and puts the claims at increased risk of being lost or damaged.
With more than 50,000 veterans currently waiting on a decision for their disability benefits, the Winston-Salem office has one of the highest number of outstanding claims of all VA offices in the country. Explore our new interactive map to see how long veterans are waiting in your area.
Photo courtesy of VAOIG
Disabled veterans stuck in backlog limbo
Disabled troops returning from combat face an unexpected battle: the Department of Veterans Affairs’ growing stack of disability benefit claims, leading to processing delays of eight months or more.
In the worst cases, some VA offices - like Los Angeles’ - are so far behind that even if no new claims were filed, it could take almost three years for the backlog to be cleared.
So how long are veterans waiting your area? Find out by exploring our new interactive map - which shows wait times from around the country.
Do you have experience filing a veterans disability claim? Take a minute to help inform our reporting by sharing your experience.