Countless men and women from North Carolina and from every other state in the union have put their lives on the line to serve in the armed forces. Those courageous and selfless individuals have experienced threats to their security and safety so that others may live in freedom, and for their noble efforts many who serve suffer illnesses and injuries as a result of their times of service. Although the federal government provides service members with the means of applying for veterans' benefits and submitting disability claims, many who do so must wait years to find out if their requests for support will be fulfilled.
For example, a Vietnam veteran who suffers from tumors potentially caused by a substance he was exposed to during the conflict has waited nine years to have his matter resolved. He has submitted his claim to his regional Veterans' Benefits Administration office and that office passed it on to the next level up. His matter is on appeal and therefore moving between the levels of hierarchy in the veterans' benefits system; the average wait time for a service member whose claim has been appealed to find out if the matter has been approved is five years.