News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, May 28, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- While many of us spent Memorial Day by the pool, at the lake or grilling out, one group of veterans spoke out about their health benefits.
"Veterans needs have become a political football or baseball bat for people to beat each other up with," said Eileen Fawcett, who spent three years in the service before she got a knee injury.
"It didn't heal properly," she said, "and turned into complex regional pain syndrome, which is a severe neurological disorder."
She, along with about 60 other disabled veterans, met at American Legion Post 205 to talk about difficulties claiming their benefits.
"It's because there are just not enough resources and that's a problem that gets decided in the Congress," Fawcett said.
"It's such a big job, and there's so much that has to be done in order to keep the promises that we made to the veterans of today," said U.S. Congressman John Barrow.
Now, more Iraq and Afghanistan warriors are coming home, and with them, come disability claims. Claims among military members in those wars hovers at around 45 percent, and of those people, they're making around 10 claims a person. That means the government will have more promises to keep, which means more taxpayer dollars, which in turn, means more work for veterans.
"In an effort to make sure nobody gets benefits who hasn't earned them, the hoops you've got to jump through to get them get more and more and more, and bigger and bigger and harder and harder to deal with," Fawcett said.
Fawcett and her fellow veterans say they're tired of dealing with the hoops, and Barrow says he hears them loud and clear.
"If we don't keep the promises we made to today's veterans, we'll have a hard time recruiting tomorrow's recruits," he said.