Congratulations all you clash for clunkers recipients. You may very well be driving your lovely new car at the expense of veterans all across America. I find it ironic that just after President Obama entered office and started doling out money to the big banks, wall street and car companies that low-income veterans entitled to travel pay so they can get to and from their medical appointments at a V.A hospital are getting the shaft.
Here’s what’s happening. Veterans were usually recompensed in cash for travel immediately after having had their medical appointments. Very early in the year this still occurred then as Obama gave money to the rich, those who needed it most were denied any cash compensation. First the V.A. lowered the amount it would pay out in cash. If a veteran’s travel pay (based upon distance traveled) was $55, for example, and the new arbitrary threshold was $50, the V.A. told the vet it would send him a check. The turnaround time was cited as two-weeks which meant that a veteran would have to wait two weeks before he got the money he needed to get to the V.A. and back home the two weeks prior.
Soon the two-week wait became three and now it’s up to five or six. Simultaneously, the cash compensation threshold was lowered to $10 so anyone entitled to $11 in travel pay would have to wait up to six weeks! Remember the people allowed to get the travel pay are those who have proved to be low-income. So then the question comes, how is the veteran supposed to get to his appointments and back home if he can’t afford it? And, of course, the answer is, he can’t. So not only is the veteran being shafted when it comes to travel pay compensation, he’s being shafted on his medical care as well.
The bottom line here is that someone always has to pay. In this case it’s the veterans (again). What a disgrace. When people say our system needs fixing they aren’t kidding. It’s just too bad that the brain trust of America is so corrupted by corporate greed on absolutely every level that no one person or group of people can ever hope to dig out of the muck. Our legislators are an abomination for allowing this to happen again and again and again …
Update: Dec. 24, 2009: My veteran friend tells me that just this week he learned that travel pay cash reimbursement went up to $100. That’s terrific. Hopefully it will last longer than just Christmas week.