As veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam get older, they are more likely to need support and services for health issues, financial issues, and service-related disabilities. However, data have shown that many elderly vets are not taking advantage of the options that they have – even when they are desperately in need of help and even when they obviously qualify for benefits or programs.
What keeps older veterans from seeking VA disability benefits and other government support?
• Pride – they don’t want to ask for help or take charity. Older generations may think that it is weak to ask for help or that other veterans need support more than they do. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that the country is proud to help them after they made so many sacrifices for us.
• Failing health. It is sadly ironic that many older veterans do not go through the process of getting disability benefits because their disabilities make it difficult to navigate the system. Some might have mobility issues that make it hard to get to a local office, while other might have mental illnesses that impair their ability to file a claim themselves.
• Lack of awareness. There are a wide variety of organizations, non-profits, and government programs all tailored to help veterans get help and live full lives after their service. Unfortunately, some older veterans may be more isolated than younger veterans and not even know of some of their best options for assistance.
• Lack of follow-through. Many senior veterans begin the disability claims process but stop when they hit a barrier – such as a needed document or a denial. While younger veterans may understand that they can appeal a denial, some older veterans will not understand that the system requires tearing through red tape. Other may simply not want to deal with the hassle.
• Computer illiteracy. It may seem like a vital part of our own world, but older vets grew up without computers and the internet – and many never learned to use technology like web browsers or email. As more and more veterans’ services go online, fewer older vets know how to access such information.
If you are a senior veteran who is seeking disability benefits, or if you have a loved one who deserves VA benefits that they aren’t getting, contact a Texas veterans’ disability attorney today.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.