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Is VBA Playing Hide & Seek With Your Disability Claim?

What is “Brokering” a Claim?

The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) appears to be up to its old tricks again with what the agency calls “brokering” or “national workload management.”

These VBA terms are actually just euphemistic ways VBA might be intentionally delaying and even hiding Veterans’ disability claims by sending Veterans’ claim files around the country in search of a regional office where it can be worked on in a timely manner.  For example, VBA regional offices in California and Maryland are shipping out a large number of pending claims.

Half of Reno Claims “Brokered”

The worst hit state appears to be Nevada.  Journalist Keith Rogers at The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently reported that the Reno regional office is so overwhelmed with disability claims that it “brokered” half of the pending claims to VA offices in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Idaho for completion last year. What’s missing is evidence obtained during by an independent review that “brokering” actually improves speed or accuracy of VBA claims decisions for Veterans.

Of course, VBA’s expanding practice of “brokering” ultimately hurts our disabled Veterans.  For example, if you are a veteran working on a claim with a Veteran Service Organization (VSO) in your home state, then the VSO can’t see the claim paper file when VBA mails it to another state. And if you’re a veteran working with an attorney on a claim, then that attorney often has to hunt down the claim file. Veterans in states with functioning regional offices are also unfairly penalized, as their claims are delayed when a flood of “brokered” claims hits their state’s VBA regional office.

Three Card Monte?

Instead of hiring and training staff at each VBA regional office based on the need in that state, VBA’s “national workload management” appears to be an elaborate shell game where VA plays the role of the slick magician confusing people with three card monte. But there’s nothing magic about VBA’s shenanigans.

VBA’s doublespeak is deceptive and a great disservice to our Veterans who should be able to work with local VSOs in their home state.

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