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Government and Politics

Cleveland veterans protesting long waits for disability claims
The Department of Veterans Affair is working on the backlog, which is particularly heavy in Cleveland

Kevin Niedermier
Courtesy of Veterans Administration
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In The Region:

Cleveland area military veterans upset over a backlog of disability claims protested today outside the Cleveland VA Medical Center.

Their protest was one of several across the country, including a demonstration outside the White House. Veteran’s groups say vets are waiting much longer for services as more military personal return from the Middle East and elsewhere.

Lee Crognale is the Ohio director for Concern Veterans for America. He says the average wait nationwide is now about 300 days. But it’s much longer for Northeast Ohio veterans.

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“It’s about 270 days for the vet to get the first response back from the VA, and by the time they’ve gone through the whole process, you’re looking a 463 days to get it completed. ... For one guy it’s been over a year and he still hasn’t heard back.”

Crognale says the backlog is especially disappointing because the VA is one of the few federal departments whose budget has increased while most are being cut during sequestration. Officials at Cleveland’s VA office say about 70 percent of its nearly 23,000 pending claims is backlogged.  The VA has set a goal of correcting the problem by 2015.

Listener Comments:

My immediate apologies to Mr. Crognale for having put him on the "wrong" side of this discussion. When passions run high speed reading takes over. Mr. Crognale is part of a fine organization that always looks out for the veteran. Again, apologies for my error. "Reporting for Duty"

Posted by: Mark Darrow (Atlanta, Georgia) on August 22, 2013 2:08AM
Sorry, but Mr. Crognale has his facts wrong. The pressure on the VA has been intense of late causing the VA to crank up the SPIN machine. Truth is, there are so many numbers being tossed around about "number of days" it takes to clear a claim that people are getting confused. That's how spin works. Unfortunately, 22 veterans (not including active duty)commit suicide each and every day. Most are waiting and waiting and waiting for their claim to be processed. It's too late for them, but we MUST help the others, and way before 2015. Do you hear that Mr. Crognale and Secretary Shinseki? Please take a peak at "Reporting for Duty"

Posted by: Mark Darrow (Newnan, Georgia) on August 22, 2013 2:08AM
My appeal is in Cleveland. Was received May 2011.
When Senator Brown's office inquired about the status, he was told " to check back in SIX months
to get new status report. If this is the answer given to a Senator, what kind of a chance do we have of getting a decent answer? NONE. I get more pissed off everyday.

Posted by: Bill Korber (Dayton, OH) on August 21, 2013 11:08AM
We send our boys overseas to fight undeclared wars to insure the oil keeps flowing and to prop up Zionist friendly dictatorships. Then they come back in the thousands, some in body-bags, others horribly wounded. They’ve done the job the multi-millionaire “banksters” and toady politicians demanded of them. But with their usefulness at an end they’re expendable assets, so kick ’um to the curb. After all, life is cheap for those who sitting in their palatial offices never have to spill their own blood. And what the heck -- there are plenty more where they came from.

Posted by: John Randolph Stewart ( on August 21, 2013 11:08AM
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