Friday, March 6, 2009

Unopened claims letters hidden at VA offices

As if we haven't seen enough of the screw ups and wrongs of our military by the Bush Administration, here comes another one. I got this in my email today and it just makes me so angry I have no words to describe it. We owe our men and women who fight everything, and when they come home they should get what is owed to them with no problems at all. Instead this is what they get.

This article from Marine Corp Times tells about unopened letters and back dated claims in the Veterans Administration. More problems for President Obama to have to clean up. How much more can we pile up on his plate. Every time we think we find it all more keeps getting piled on.

A new report about Veterans Affairs Department employees squirreling away tens of thousands of unopened letters related to benefits claims is sparking fresh concerns that veterans and their survivors are being cheated out of money.

VA officials acknowledge further credibility problems based on a new report of a previously undisclosed 2007 incident in which workers at a Detroit regional office turned in 16,000 pieces of unprocessed mail and 717 documents turned up in New York in December during amnesty periods in which workers were promised no one would be penalized.

It is no wonder the article goes on to say that veterans have lost their trust in the VA.

Unprocessed and unopened mail was just one problem in VA claims processing mentioned by Belinda Finn, VA’s assistant inspector general for auditing, in testimony before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Auditors also found that the dates recorded for receiving claims, which in many cases determine the effective date for benefits payments, are wrong in many cases because of intentional and unintentional errors, Finn said.

I know this is not a new problem. The fact that our veterans are treated terribly has been going on for years. My dad, uncles and others I know from WWII either are still or have just recently gotten their claims for disability compensation through the process.

Sixty years?? Yes, 60 years, and they are just now getting their claims. So many of them were either told they weren't eligible, or they never knew they could even file. Then, there were the ones who had not been able to document their injuries due to "heat of the battle" type things. Injuries and wounds happened that were not serious enough at the time to get them sent back to the hospital, or sick bay, but were treated by a corp man or medic and they kept on fighting.

Later, these same soldiers, sailors and marines found out these injuries were often much more serious and yet now there was no documentation. So, no claim could ever be filed. Too bad, says the VA. Unless you can find someone who served with you that remembers it and can help you document it and will testify for you.

These guys are in their 80's, lots of them are deceased, they are scattered, so they give up and get nothing for having served bravely in battle. Why do we not take better care of our veterans?? This is something I think the neocons and the republicans need to ask themselves, they claim to be such champions of the military, yet they do not take care of the veterans very well. It takes a Democratic President to try to fix the Veterans Administration.

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Fran said...

That IS disturbing news. .... because they do have strict guidelines for reporting & if you miss the deadline, you are automatically disqualified or denied.
they can save a bundle if they make the paperwork disappear. Grrrrr.
It's really almost criminal. Because lots of Vets have serious, time sensitive needs. Then they wonder why military suicide rates are soaring.
It is a serious issue.
More things for Obama to fix.

Patricia said...

I hadn't seen this but it's not surprising either. The best way to support the troops is to give them the help they need when they get back.