Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hundreds of Veterans' Claims Were in Shredding Bins at VA's Detriot Office

This is yet one more part of the deplorable treatment the veterans have been getting from this administration. When will people ever learn that just because someone says they care about veterans, they also need to prove it?

Oct 14, Where is Press Coverage of Allegations that Hundreds of Veterans' Claims Were in Shredding Bins at VA's Detriot Office?
Larry Scott

VA Watchdog

Oct 15, 2008
Editorial Column: Shredding Our Trust in VA

October 13, 2008 - Many veterans who have filed disability claims with the Veterans' Benefits Administration (VBA) of the Department of Veterans' Affair (VA) will relate horror stories of misdated, misfiled or lost documents all leading to delays in processing or an outright denial of the claim. The mantra for veterans dealing with the VBA has become: "Delay, Deny and Hope that I Die."

It has been assumed by many veterans, their Service Officers who help file claims and attorneys who specialize in veterans' law that the VBA operates in such a way as to deliberately stall or hinder the claim process with the goal of frustrating the veteran to the point where they just forget about the claim and go away. This isn't some grand plan to purposely hurt veterans, but rather a combination of ignorance, arrogance, incredibly bad management and non-existent oversight. While this viewpoint has been labeled cynical by some and outright paranoid by others, new information is surfacing that shows the cynics, and even the paranoids, to be correct.

What We Know

The VA's Office of Inspector General (VAOIG) has been conducting audits, or investigations, of a number of VA Regional Offices (VAROs). There are over 50 VAROs around the country, each set up to handle the claims of veterans in a particular geographical area.

The latest series of VAOIG investigations centers on charges that VARO administrators and employees deliberately falsified "timeliness" statistics sent to the VA's Central Office (VACO). This would be information that shows when a claim was received and how, with a documented timeline including date/time stamps, it moved through the process.

The first heads have begun to roll in this investigation. During the week of October 6, 2008, four employees at the New York VARO, including the Director, were placed on administrative leave. More accurately, they were removed from their positions awaiting the outcome of the investigation. Sources close to this investigation say that those removed, and others, were found to have been fudging the "timeliness" figures. And, there are allegations that documents, including paperwork essential to the claim process had been destroyed.
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