Saturday AC360 Special Report: The Battlefield at Home
(Photo credit: MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/GettyImages)
November 10th, 2012
05:45 PM ET

Saturday AC360 Special Report: The Battlefield at Home

Anderson Cooper presents a special hour at 8 p.m. ET tonight on the myriad of challenges facing U.S. veterans when they return from battle.

Drew Griffin has been investigating charities accused of shameful deception, including allegations that they collect money with a promise of helping wounded veterans, but never deliver. These questionable charities target and exploit generous donors who think they're making a difference in the lives of service members. In tonight's show you'll see what happens when Drew confronts the president of one organization.

In Randi Kaye's report you'll meet a veteran who returned from Afghanistan, as his wife says, a shell of the man he once was. Mike Rioux's injuries make it impossible for him to have a job and support his family. One problem he never anticipated was how difficult it would be to get benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Randi asks Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary Tommy Sowers why the wait time for help can be months, even years.

Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Drew Griffin • Randi Kaye • Veteran's Day • Veterans
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Ivan

    Thank You, I am a service connected disabled veteran from the Gulf War. It took me until 2000 to get my service connection where it is today. I am unable to work due to these service connections and know first hand the need for assistance. Studies show that my peers who can and do work on average earn up to $40,000.00 more a year than vets like me, yet, as food, fuel, and life's prices continue to go up what vets receive goes up by pennies. The organizations that you and your team have put your cross hairs on should be shut down so money that people donate will actually go to those who need it. Thank You again for bringing to light the wrong doing of these organizations.

    November 12, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  2. Teri

    How do you see the show Anderson Cooper 360
    The Battlefield at Home when you don't have cable?
    Anyway to find this video online?

    November 11, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  3. Dan Carter

    I've had a similar problem as Mike Rioux. I filed a claim for disability over a year ago and still do not have an answer. It has just been put into "development phase" within the past couple weeks. I'm tired of hearing all of the excuses from the VA. I understand there is a large quantity of claims, but over a year is ridiculous. I've lost my job, my apartment, my truck, and have been sued by my former landlord for back rent and storage fees. I was told by the VA this past March that my claim would be expedited for financial hardship, but none of that has turned out to be true. I can only imagine how many other Veterans have gone through the same thing. It is unacceptable, no matter what the excuse is.

    November 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  4. Victor Emauel Davis

    I am a veteran having submitted claims with the VA, in some cases with appeals it taking over 8 years and still waiting, all I get is thank for your service which quite frankly gets old after hearing it constantly without results after a long period of time. I loved that CNN Anderson Cooper 360 topic. Delay, deny until we die. This what I get after a total of 21 years of Army service. WOW, Ok.
    Thank You Anderson Cooper excellent reporting.

    November 11, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  5. Rene Brakefield

    Mr. Cooper, you too seem to have been misled by the Department of Veterans affairs as my husband has been fighting for veterans benefits for many years. One of his post military diagnosis is PTSD which is considered presumptive for those who served in the Vietnam conflict of the 60's. My husband was exposed to Agent orange as well. He was drafted into the war, he had no choice as to whether to join or not. He HAD to go to war. You would be surprised at the number of Vietnam vets who are still fighting to get benefits. SO he is proof that claims are NOT settled in two years or less. He originally was diagnosed with PTSD in the late 90's. 12+ years later , with paperwork in hand,we wait.

    November 11, 2012 at 3:24 am |
  6. Laura

    I am disgusted and appalled at the fundraising tactics of these fundraising companies!! Also, I have first hand knowledge of the sometimes 3-4 year delays for veterans applying for disability benefits. My sister's claim was so messed up.....and is still pending due to inexperienced adjudicators who make decisions after "top page reading" a soldiers file. There is yet a deeper problem with VA doctors....my sister was approved and given a rating to have another doctor reverse the decision of the first doctor. It's called " fishing to deny." How sad it is that they don't even trust the decisions of their own peers!!!!

    November 11, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  7. David Robinson

    SIr I have watched your prgram this evening. As a 70s vet the two men in charge of the V.A. needs termananted. their emty promices is what we have heard for over forty years. the man you have used deserved his benifts,but at the same time the rest of us many, myslef inculded have waited over 4 plus years, a year would have been great form the hear form the V.A. the V.A> gave him his 100 percent only to cover their ass as the wanted to seem like they care. we THe old vets have been placed on the back burner on everything. Does it take every veteran to be preveiwed on your show to get ther day well I will pay for mine. I have waited long enough and have had over 7 Doctors diginosed me with ptsd and yet have not recived nothing for it.I have been going to the V.A. phychartist for over 2 years once a month. You were right they belive wait ,deny till you die at least with the old verts like myslef. why dont you get conserned with our plight we served also. I know they new ones are the late and great but we paved our way.

    November 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  8. Dennis

    I just watched the show "The Battlefield at Home" and it is no surprise to me. I have been waiting and fighting with the VA for about 7 years. I have letters and denials for this whole time. I have 12 screws, a plate, 2 rods, and a titanium joint the failed in my neck and I am still not at the rate I was told I would be at. I also have had surgery on a broken foot that the VA calls "arthritis" and a broken hand that was called "arthritis". I requested a BVA hearing in person at the local regional office and it was received by the VA on 4 Dec 2007, and the paperwork has the date stamp by the VA. I still have other service connected disabilities that are still being "worked up", about 7 years in the "worked up" phase. They still tell me that they never received the paperwork...So sad....So I would say delay....deny....wait till I die..

    November 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  9. Jane Owen

    Keep up the good work . this on duping veterans and raising money fraud. Wise . Keep after it . God bless our vets and military .. We r military family thank you..

    November 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  10. Karen Young

    Veterans need to blame congress for not receiving services & claims not processed in a timely matter because congress isn't providing enough funds to the VA so that the VA can hire enough personnel to provide the services veterans need. In fact, house republicans want to cut VA funding even more.

    November 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm |