According to the former secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilkie, the current system emphasizes providing disability benefits and helping out unfit individuals, which might seem like a blessing to the Veterans, but is pretty damaging to the system. He explained that by providing financial benefits to these ailing members of the military service, the system is not helping them out but promoting them to pay disability in order to earn rewards. He further explained that the system would be much better off if it focused on aiding their ailing members and getting them back into society instead of granting them rewards for ailments that have relatively little to do with their military service.
Along these lines, the secretary of VA highlighted that receiving financial assistance from the VA is relatively easy to ascertain since a wide array of illnesses and injuries can make an individual eligible for receiving financial support from the system, many of which might not even be remotely related to their military placement. This also allows the veterans to receive all benefits on a silver platter instead of working hard for these rewards and looking for ways to work and make their way into post-military life. This was further supported by a study from the Department of Labor which suggested that around 26 percent of all Veterans in the United States today have some military-related disability
This roundtable discussion revolved around the new book called “Wounding Warriors: How Bad Policy is Making America’s Veterans Sicker and Poorer,” written by the Retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and a former Virginia Senate member, Daniel Gade. Wilkie narrated the department to be “incredibly resistant to reform.” He suggested that it was because of the greedy Veteran lobbyists who are always searching for increasing the benefits and rewards instead of aiding and abetting those who require military-related accommodations.
Wilkie explained how his work as secretary of the VA may have improved some of the old practices of the system; however, not to a large extent, it seems, while Gade suggested that veterans should receive treatment for all ailments irrespective of them being related to military deployment.
Veteran Affairs processes plenty of disability claims every year, especially this year when it broke all records and processed over 1 million claims. However, due to the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, many claims were not processed in due time. In addition to this, Fight4vets narrates that, while VA benefits can be generous, “the reality is that the VA routinely denies claims that are based on real disabilities.” Not to mention, new policies and updated eligibility criteria, have greatly increased the workload for the staff. However, Wilkie claimed that necessary changes can still not be implemented as long as the lawyers and veteran lobbyists do not alter their perspective of the system.
During Wilkie’s last moments in the office, most Veterans called for his resignation since it was found that he had failed to appropriately handle a sexual assault case that was put forth by a congressional staffer who was at the VA Medical Center in Washington, DC.
5 Things to do in Maryland
The East Coast of the US has a lot to offer, and although might not be top of the list for everyone, there are so many reasons why you should visit Maryland. Head to Maryland’s largest city, Baltimore – explore the harbour, or visit the beach to experience the excitement of the amusements. Immerse yourself in history with the range of museums and monuments that Maryland has to offer. Here are the top 5 things that you can do when visiting Maryland.
1. Oriole Park at Camden Yards
If you’re a sports fan heading to Maryland, visiting Camden Yards is a must. Home to the Baltimore Orioles, Camden Yards was opened in 1992, it’s a retro-style park and it has been from the day it was built! If you’re planning on visiting this old-school stadium, you’ll be headed right into the heart of Baltimore’s inner harbour, with a huge variety of things to see and do, experiencing an Oriole’s game means you can experience this quaint park, as well the stunning harbour surroundings. Soon, you’ll be able to place moneyline bets online in Maryland, so you can add a whole new level of excitement to your favourite baseball games.
2. Ocean City Boardwalk
Baltimore’s boardwalk is one of the best in the country, so if you’re looking for things to do in Maryland, this should be top of your list! The boardwalk itself dates to 1902, but it is still one of the most exciting places to visit this day. Situated right on the beach, there’s an abundance of fun to be had here, and a lot of the time, the activities are free!
Morning or night, you can guarantee there is always something to see and do. You can head to the amusements, with arcades that are fun for the whole family, or if you’re more of a thrill-seeker, ride the rollercoaster or take in the stunning views from the top of the Ferris wheel. If you’re hungry, you’ll want to try Maryland’s famous crab cakes or if you’ve got a sweet tooth, the saltwater taffy or hot funnel cakes might be more your style. The boardwalk has something for everyone, shops, amusements, and food – not to mention the beach!
3. Maryland Science centre
A trip to Maryland wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Maryland science centre. Fun for both kids and adults, you can immerse yourselves in all things science. With three levels of exhibits, you can delve into learning more about astrology, palaeontology, physics and how the human body works. One of the most stunning attractions at the science centre is the rooftop observatory that allows you to explore the night sky. The planetarium is also not to be missed – an Imax theatre which features films on all things from space to butterflies.
4. Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry is well worth a visit for history experts and novices alike. This fort was built to defend Baltimore Harbour from a British attack in 1814. It has since then been named a ‘National Monument and Historic Shrine’. The Fort is open to visitors and is a must-see. When visiting you can choose one of the many tours to ensure you get the most from your time here, you can choose to pay for entry, or just take it all from a walk along the path near the bay.
The visitor centre itself has artefacts and information, as well as a 10-minute film on the fort’s history that is not to be missed. Make sure you walk around the fort before you enter the grounds, and you’ll get to see canons that were used in World War 2.
5. Baltimore National Aquarium
The National Aquarium is considered one of the best in the Nation – so when planning your trip to Maryland, set aside some time to explore the thousands of animals it has to offer. The aquarium is situated in the Inner Harbour, so is easily accessible. Here, you can explore the depths of the ocean, the rainforest and more! This aquarium has it all – watch the sharks circle, the various species of birds take flight and watch the crocodiles snap. When visiting, you can choose a guided tour or just take your time, soaking up all that this attraction has to offer.
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