Disparities in VA Spending for Veterans

Disparities in VA Spending for Veterans

January 13, 2015

Disparities in VA Spending for Veterans

Veterans who receive benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs do not often receive the benefits they've earned depending on where they live. NPR and three of its member stations discovered this disturbing fact while reviewing data for a three-part series on veteran's benefits.

The disparities in VA spending for military veterans appeared to researchers as they took a look at data from 3,000 counties nationwide. That data revealed no patterns in these disparities. NPR also discovered that there can be a big difference on what the Department of Veterans Affairs spends on veterans - not only from state to state - but also from county to county in a particular state.

A Look at VA Spending Disparities for Veterans

As mentioned above, there seems to be no pattern for these differences. As NPR pointed out in its special series Back at the Base, "...there's no strong association between spending per veteran and the size or age of the veteran population, or the affluence of a particular area."

So why do veterans have a harder time accessing the monthly disability checks, health care and other benefits they are due depending on where they live? There seem to be a number or reasons including: demographics, distance to VA hospital facilities, resource management and differences in payment costs for doctors and nurses. But according to NPR, "The VA has a hard time explaining why there are such huge disparities across the nation."

Solution to VA Spending Disparities

Is there a solution? One four-tour Iraq war vet and Democrat Rep.-elect Seth Moulton thinks so. He thinks a simple solution is for the VA to simplify the process of veterans using private doctors and health care facilities. This would help those who live far away from VA facilities.

"The bottom line is that Americans who've put their lives on the line for our country ought to receive the best health care in the world," Moulton says. "We've got to make that happen."

We agree 100%.

For now, it is very important for veterans to take a long hard look at where they are going to put down roots. As this research showed, where you live will determine whether or not you receive the veterans benefits you deserve.

If you visit the article on the NPR website, you can find a form about half-way down the page to enter a county or state name. From there, you will see VA spending from 2013 data in that location. This can help you make a decision on where you might want to live - especially if you rely heavily on veterans benefits.

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