Veterans must fill out hundreds of forms in a red tape nightmare that continues to clog the system. That's the assertion by the American Action Forum (AAF) which released some stunning numbers this week.
The group said that they reviewed over 300 regulatory requirements demanded of returning US veterans who file health and disability claims to find "significant red tape: 43.4 million hours of paperwork, 613 forms that take 3 hours to complete per person, and a total cost of more than $600 million."
As a result of the veterans filling out literally hundreds of forms, the VA ends up receiving over 31 million forms or other paperwork items from veterans each year.
The AAF said: "To put that paperwork burden in perspective, it would take approximately 21,750 employees working 2,000 hours a year to complete one year of paperwork."
Here's a CNN video from earlier this year that discusses the same problem. According to their report, some veterans feel that the backlog of claims has gotten worse under the Obama administration:
And it isn't just apparently conservative groups like AAF who are complaining about the paper chase.
Here's another look at the veterans red tape mess from the liberal side of the aisle as reported in Jon Stewart's "Red Tape Diairies" in April:
Also in April, the US Senate sent a letter directly to President Barack Obama, asking him to get involved in fixing the disability claims backlog that frustrates veterans.
The White House responded by pointing out that the Veterans Affairs Department was using an old 1950s paper-based system that was completely clogged. The Obama administration requested a more than 13 percent funding increase to speed a switchover to a modern electronics system.
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said at the time, "The president has made clear to us this is a national priority...Nobody is going to be more impatient about this than the guy we're reporting to on a regular basis...the president."
The new American Action Forum report seems to suggest that in addition to implementing a paperless system by 2014, the VA could also consider not requiring veterans to fill out hundreds of forms in the first place.
[red tape photo by Creatista via Shutterstock]