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Senate Hearing Investigates Long Wait Times in Veterans' Disability Program

Washington, DC
Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee will question veterans' and defense officials on the increasing wait times for disability ratings and how the system is affecting soldiers' and veterans' health.

Despite a commitment to reduce wait times for injured soldiers and new veterans with regards to mental health and disability screenings, the Veterans' Department is far from meeting it's goals, with some veterans and their families waiting over a year for a ruling. The committee acknowledges that the uncertainty of this time can contribute to mental health issues, drug abuse, and even suicide.

During this hearing, the committee also hopes to investigate discrepancies in mental health diagnoses recently reported at a base in Washington State that seem to be more widespread. Jo Ann Rooney, the Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, will testify about a system-wide review on how its doctors diagnose mental illness.

John Gingrich, the Chief of Staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Daniel Bertoni, the Director of Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues at the Government Accountability Office will also testify.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) will chair Wednesday's hearing.

Updated: Friday, June 22, 2012 at 10:27am (ET)

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