Watch: Jon Stewart Lays into VA For Backlog of 1 Million Benefits Claims


Jon Stewart devoted last night’s Daily Show entirely to the bureaucratic mess known as the Veterans Administration. The show included an interview with Eric Greitens, founder of The Mission Continues and a Samantha Bee investigation of one veteran’s lost claim. But first, Stewart reintroduced us to the topic at hand.

“Veterans must now wait through a backlog of nearly a million benefits claims—claims seen here doing an impression of your grandpa’s garage,” Stewart said, over b-roll of mountains of paper and folders.

More than a million veterans are still waiting for their claims, many have waited for years now. Now, the VA is withholding bonuses for senior officials who administer disability claims.

“They haven’t done really much about the backlog of claims, but they have stopped giving bonuses to the people who created it,” Stewart observed, “The VA is not just withholding bonuses. They are also taking steps to fix things… eventually.”

The host then cut to a clip of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki telling Congress that his department would end the backlog by 2015, gives or take 125 days of processing.

“There you have it! In only two more years they’re hoping to have you wait only four more months.”

“They haven’t fully computerized their records,” Stewart continued. “But they have computerized their plan to computerize their record in the form of this Powerpoint presentation about this backlog of claims.”

Stewart pulled up one striking slide from the Powerpoint in question, titled, “The ‘enemy’ is paper and manual processes.”

“See what the problem is? Paper has been designated enemy combatants. Therefore, these records can be held for indefinite periods in a kind of bureaucratic, black site limbo—a kind of paper Gitmo.”

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