When my legs were blown off in Afghanistan, I had to go through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System, also known as IDES. Ill, wounded, or injured members of Armed Services like myself go through the IDES process in order to determine their fitness for duty and disability benefits. But unfortunately, there are too many instances where wounded warriors are not only fighting for their health, they’re stuck fighting the bureaucracy at the VA.
IDES is run by unelected bureaucrats who have far too often refused to take responsibility for the wounded warriors depending on the system for their financial well-being. It’s an endless cycle of finger-pointing that traps servicemembers into settling for less than they deserve with no adequate process to appeal decisions.
That is why I introduced the bipartisan Wounded Warrior Bill of Rights. This legislation would allow commanders - those who are closest to the wounded warrior - to initiate investigations or pause the process if an appeal is underway. It would also give servicemembers a clear path to follow if they decide to appeal an IDES decision or need help understanding the benefits that will impact them for the rest of their lives.
This is a bipartisan, common sense change that will protect wounded servicemembers and ensure that they aren’t screwed over by nameless, faceless bureaucrats.