Sen. Robert C. Byrd, said "And we can spend more than $1 billion a month on military operations in Afghanistan." He continued. "But when it comes to providing benefits to disabled veterans, suddenly we do not have the money," he said (41 ).
The reality of the matter is the Bush (Jr) administration consistently asked for cuts to Veterans benefits, and Congress virtually passed all of the cuts, until, the scandal broke out about the conditions at Walter Reed Army Hospital. The Bush administration vastly under estimated the needs of returning personnel, and many believe and claim to be sane that Bush was a friend to the military (42 ).
Cutting cost by changing the definitions of words
In March 2008 the definition of "combat-related disabilities" was narrowed, to "special distinction for those who incur disabilities while participating in the risk of combat, in contrast with those injured otherwise,". Disabled American Veterans called the move "shocking level of disrespect for those who stood in harm's way,". Senator Carl Levin of Michigan said that limiting benefits was not congresses intent and "When the disability is the same, the impact on the service member should be the same no matter whether the disability was incurred while training for combat at Fort Hood or participating in actual combat in Iraq or Afghanistan."(43 ).
In 2009 it was reported the Veterans affairs Department was still "lowballing budget estimates" to keep its spending down. Thus not having the money needed to care for our vets (44 ).
Veterans who apply for benefits have an extended wait. example 59 percent of Veterans diagnosed with PTSD are waiting approval of their claims or have not filed claims because of road blocks in the current system (45 ).
On a more positive note.
In the summer 2008 Congress passed and the New G.I. Bill or that also called the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. The Bill will drastically improve educational benefits to veterans. It takes effect on Aug. 1, 2009 eight years after 9-11, sadly it will not help will educational bills before Aug 2009 (46 ).
The VA hope to use a private contractor for the New GI Bill but, instead will use its own employees. The reason is they could not find a suitable contractor (47 ).
President Obama said in 2009, he would improve mental health aid to Vets by increasing funding by 25 billion over the next years. Obama said "With this budget, we don't just fully fund our Veterans Affairs health care program, we expand it to serve an additional 500,000 veterans by 2013,". He also said homeless Vets would be targeted and "Those heroes have a home," and also said "It's the country they served, the United States of America, and until we reach a day when not a single veteran sleeps on our nation's streets, our work remains unfinished." (48 ).
In 2009 during the Veterans of Foreign Wars' annual convention in Phoenix he noted the 2010 fiscal budget was "increasing military pay, building better family housing and funding more childcare and counseling to help families cope with the stresses of war." (49 ).