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The Boston Globe


Home from war, veterans face battle with VA

Overloaded resources result in much red tape

WASHINGTON — Army Sergeant Jeremy Barnhart says anyone wanting to know what it is like to deal with the Department of Veterans Affairs can get a clue from the FedEx packages that land on the front porch of his San Antonio home.

They tell him when to show up for mental health assessments that help determine his benefits eligibility. If the time conflicts with his college classes, a VA benefit helping him prepare for a new career, he cannot change the appointment by phone, he said. He can only call to say it will not work, and wait for another package giving him his new time.

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