Tuesday, July 15, 2008

8,763 vets died waiting for benefits

What is Lockheed Martin doing with dealing with claims for veterans? Is this more of the outsourcing we saw that failed our veterans? Walter Reed was outsourced and we saw what our wounded troops had to deal with. What other claims are being done by contractors instead of government employees and who gave the administration the right to outsource these services? Congressman Finler is upset over US flags being made in China but he should be more upset over a defense contractor deciding the fate of our veterans!

Report: 8,763 vets died waiting for benefits

By William H. McMichael - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Jul 15, 2008 14:56:15 EDT

The title of the House committee report sums up what happened: “Die or Give Up Trying: How Poor Contractor Performance, Government Mismanagement and the Erosion of Quality Controls Denied Thousands of Disabled Veterans Timely and Accurate Retroactive Retired Pay Awards.”

The report by the majority staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform domestic policy panel, released Tuesday, concluded that at least 28,283 disabled retirees were denied retroactive pay awards because rushed efforts to clear a huge backlog of claims led program administrators to stop doing quality assurance checks on the claims decisions.

And of the original 133,057 potentially eligible veterans, 8,763 died before their cases could be reviewed for retroactive payments, according to the report.

At issue are the Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments and Combat-Related Special Compensation programs, approved by Congress in 2003 and 2004 to allow large numbers of disabled retirees to receive full concurrent military retirement pay and veteran’s disability compensation.

In February, the backlog was said to be “more than 39,000” cases. Jonas said she had been assured that the backlog would be cleared by April.

That did not happen, according to the subcommittee report, because Lockheed Martin, the contractor hired in July 2006 to compute the complex retroactive pay awards, had difficulty making the computations fast enough to eliminate the backlog quickly. The complexity of the computations also hindered Lockheed Martin’s ability to develop software to automate the process.

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