As outlined in the later chapters of A Trust Betrayed, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has been heavily criticized in recent years for its response to the problems of all veterans, not just those who were affected by Camp Lejeune’s poisoned water.
Disability assistance continues to be held up for deserving veterans because of a massive backlog of claims stuck in the federal bureaucracy. The VA has proposed reforms to the process for filing claims, but veterans groups are not happy with many of the changes.
The situation has become so shameful that a bill was introduced in Congress that would allow the VA secretary to fire career executives in the department who had failed to meet certain standards. The bill died in the last Congress, but it underscored the level of frustration with the VA’s performance.
There are also serious problems with treatment programs for veterans, especially those who served in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. A National Academy of Sciences expert panel recently reported that the military’s efforts to improve mental health among veterans are ineffective at best.
Clearly it is not just veterans of Camp Lejeune who are suffering, but the problems they have getting the general assistance they are owed add insult to their many injuries.