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Bergmann & Moore Staff Educate Texas Veterans

Workshops Focus on VBA Claim Process as well as VBA’s Chronic Delays and Errors

During several meetings in Cedar Park, Waco, and Austin, the staff of Bergmann & Moore educated Veterans about the disability claim process administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Stained glass window at Heroes Night Out in Cedar Park, Texas. Photo by Paul Sullivan

Stained glass window at Heroes Night Out in Cedar Park, Texas. Photo by Paul Sullivan

Over the last several weeks, Bergmann & Moore’s Paul Sullivan discussed with Veterans and family members the very serious claim delay and error crisis now worsening at the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), the VA agency responsible for handling Veterans’ disability compensation claims.

The Austin American-Statesman newspaper recently highlighted the delays Veterans face when filing claims for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Waco, Texas, the location of one of the two VBA regional offices in Texas.

“I’m honored to meet with fellow Veteran advocates in Texas and share vital information about VA,” Sullivan said.  There are great leaders helping Veterans at Heroes Night Out in Cedar Park, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Waco, and at the Austin Veterans and Family Advocacy Council in the Texas state capital.

KXXV news reporter Danielle Skinner listens as Bergmann & Moore’s Paul Sullivan describes how Veterans in Texas wait 15 months for VA claim decision.

Sullivan shared information on how to get assistance with a local veteran service organization when filing a claim or trying to find out the status of an existing claim.  He also spoke about the key ingredients needed for a successful claim, plus common errors VA makes when deciding a claim.

“In Texas, our Veterans shouldn’t be forced to wait 15 months or jump through bureaucratic hoops in order to obtain VA healthcare and disability benefits for physical and mental health conditions related to their military service,” Sullivan said.

In addition to answering Veterans’ questions, Sullivan presented the latest disappointing statistics about VA’s deteriorating claim delay and error crisis.  Most Veterans were shocked and angry at VA’s broken claims system:


Claim Crisis Comparison: United States and Waco, Texas

VBA Measure

National Goal

National  Stats

Waco Stats

Claim Inventory

899,648

47,881

Claims Older than 125 Days

Zero

608,090

36,554

Percent of Claims Older than 125 Days

Zero

68%

76%

Claim Processing Time

125 Days or Less

277 Days

458 Days

Claim Processing Time for Homeless Veterans

45 Days

124 Days

227 Days

VBA’s Claim Error Rate

2%

14.9%

19.4%

Sources: VBA’s Monday Morning Workload Report, December 10, 2012, and VBA’s ASPIRE, October 2012.

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