Columbia, SC (WLTX) - There are more than 400,000 veterans here in South Carolina. Of that number, more 16,000 have claims that are backlogged.
"We didn't find it robbery to go so it should not be robbery to help us," said Yvonne Aikens.
Many veterans in our state made serving our country a career.
"I have been there done that and I believe in what we are out here for," said Aikens.
Aikens served 23 years in the military..now she and other veterans are having problems receiving their benefits.
"As for me, I have only been waiting 12 years," said Charles Welch.
A claim is considered backlogged when it has not been handled in 125 days.
"We came back with messed up minds and some of us with missing legs and arms and we were there for our country and I feel like there is no more right than we get benefits to help us survive and take care of us as well as our health," said Aikens.
Veterans along with employees like Peter Shvetz with the Veterans Benefits Administration rallied to bring awareness to the problem.
The VA says its efforts are to digitize records, update computer software, and hire more workers to speed up the process. Shvetz says that isn't the solution.
"They are expecting them to perform at levels that they have not received the training or experience in dealing with some very complicated claims," said Shvetz.
Charles Welch drove from Jacksonville Florida to join in the effort.
"They are continuing to do the same thing they have always done and they haven't switched the system around which they need too," said Welch.
So for now, Vets are just waiting for a change.
"If you said I do then you are owed something that's how I feel," said Aikens.
The backlogs in our state has reached national attention with the New York Times writing an article about the problems South Carolina Vets are having.
The VA told the New York Times, "Change can be challenging, and we recognize that our dedicated employees are critical to providing veterans with timely, quality benefits."