A KVUE Defenders investigation gets results for a Vietnam war veteran. The Defenders also uncovered the nation’s most vulnerable veterans are experiencing an increase in delays getting their benefits.
It involves veterans who receive benefits, but cannot take care of themselves. In those cases, the VA transfers benefits to a caretaker.
The KVUE Defenders found the VA is taking longer to get those benefits to those caretakers than ever before – putting veterans at risk.
One of those veterans was Steven Boucher. The 60-year-old from Round Rock served two years in Vietnam as a medic caring for others in combat. Today, he suffers from severe mental illness and cannot take care of himself.
“There’s time in the past where he’s ran away, he’s been homeless in the streets and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” said Erick, Boucher’s son.
Last June, his son applied to be his father’s fiduciary. Nearly six months later, they were still waiting for the VA to transfer his benefits. During that time, the VA put a hold on his checks.
“I mean, it’s been a complete nightmare to be honest with you. A lot of people giving you the run around; they’re not giving you the adequate help you need to get those benefits,” said Erick.
The VA’s goal is to transfer benefits to a fiduciary, or caretaker, within 45 days. According to the agency’s own records, it failed to meet that goal more than 2,000 times this past year.
That’s an 18 percent increase over the past two years. Meaning, some veterans waited months for their benefits.