Veterans applying for VA Benefits expect to be denied the first time – and that’s why it’s often recommended an attorney gets involved. But how long until a veteran gets approved? A report from CBS 11 in Texas found that the process may take years, if not decades.

CBS 11 found that the process is so drawn out that the veteran may pass on before receiving benefits, leaving his widow to take on the case. The television station further found that in Northern Texas alone, veterans’ deaths resulted in 150 cases dismissed or denied since 2009.

However, while not all veterans have been taking advantage of benefits, the military has dishonorably discharging injured soldiers to prevent them from receiving disability, unemployment, and education benefits for life.

Rates of being “chaptered” picked up around the time the Iraq war began, with 76,000 dishonorably discharged since 2006. The military, according to reports from Aljazeera America, would discharge soldiers over small infractions like tardiness or drug usage; the soldiers, meanwhile, had been suffering from conditions like traumatic brain injury or PTSD.

At the same time the VA continues to deal with a backlog and “chaptered” soldiers find themselves unable to even apply for assistance, the Congressional Budget Office put out a report toward the end of October listing 100 options for reducing the national deficit. Among them are strategies for reducing VA compensation, raising TRICARE for military retirees, and lessening IU benefits for soldiers 65 years of age and older.

Out of these possible cuts, military retirees would have to pay more out-of-pocket costs for TRICARE, while the ban on concurrent receipts – an option for veterans with a 50-percent or higher disability rating – would be put back into place. As well, requirements for VA compensation would eliminate all conditions not related to military-specific duties, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, arteriosclerotic heart disease, hemorrhoids, uterine fibroids, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and osteoarthritis.