Take Action for Our Elderly Veterans!

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Sponsor: The Veterans Site

Elderly veterans should receive the care they need without having to fight for it. Take action for them now!

Today, about half of the 9 million veterans currently enrolled in veterans health care programs are 65 or older. Over the next decade, the number of veterans over 75 in that group is expected to approach 3 million1

Many of America's elderly veterans are finding it more difficult to find and sustain housing and health care. The fact is our older veterans often have a much more difficult time because not only are they at times unaware of resources available to them, but also because the United States simply does not allocate enough funding and care toward caring for our elderly service members.

35% of veterans who are older than 55 have a disability that is related to their service, including scars from old wounds received in combat. These hurdles are only going to become progressively more severe as this group of vets becomes older2.

While a majority of older veterans may be stable now, their needs are going to shift.

Senior veterans are over 60% more likely to suffer from heart attacks and coronary heart disease, and are more likely to develop cancer than civilians of a similar demographic3.

In order to obtain VA disability benefits, veterans must first have medical evidence showing they suffer from a disability that took place during their service. In order to show the severity of their disability, the veteran will need VA treatment records, private medical records, and possibly even statements from family and friends4.

Obtaining service records for elderly veterans can be especially difficult due to a fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in 1973 that destroyed millions of official military service records5.

Perhaps one of the most serious issues facing the elderly veteran population is the length of time it takes the VA to complete the disability claim appeal process. Some VA offices are so backlogged that they can take up to 3 years for a decision4.

Elderly veterans can't always wait that long.

A 2014 study found that "approximately 3,000 veterans die each year with their disability compensation claims still mired in some stage of the agency's adjudication process6."

Claims can be expedited but the VA requires veterans to be 85 years or older to qualify for priority processing.

No one who's served in the military — especially those who are elderly — should have to worry about healthcare. It's appalling that so many of these veterans are living without assistance.

Sign the petition asking the chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, to support legislature that reduces the barriers to healthcare our older veterans face.

More on this issue:

  1. Leo Shane III, Military Times (3 March 2020), "VA promises new plan to address needs of growing population of elderly vets."
  2. Bendix Anderson, Multifamily Executive (6 November 2017), "U.S. Veterans Face Housing Difficulties on Top of Other Challenges."
  3. Kyffin Grove (2021), "Health And Wellness Needs Of Senior Veterans."
  4. Anne Linscott, Hill & Ponton Disability Attorneys (29 September 2016), "Common Issues Facing the Elderly Veteran Population."
  5. National Personnel Records Center, National Archives (4 January 2019), "The 1973 Fire, National Personnel Records Center."
  6. Benjamin P. Pomerance, Hamline Law Review (2014), "Fighting on Too Many Fronts: Concerns Facing Elderly Veterans in Navigating the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Benefits System."
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The Petition:

Dear Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee,

I am writing to ask for your participation in creating programs and allocating funding toward taking care of our elderly veterans. The fact is, older veterans struggling more than they should have to in order to simply sustain health care. That we as a country aren't removing these worries for our veterans completely is appalling.

Some VA offices are so backlogged that they can take up to 3 years for a decision. Elderly veterans can't always wait that long.

Approximately 3,000 veterans die each year with their disability compensation claims still mired in some stage of the agency's adjudication process.

Someone who has sacrificed so much for his or her country shouldn't be forced to worry about where the next meal will come from or how they are going to pay for their required prescriptions.

I demand you address the problem of lack of health care among elder veterans. Do the right thing for those who have laid down their lives for our country.

Thank you for your time.

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