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More Harm to Veterans: VBA’s Errors Hit 38% in Past Year

VBA Employee Fired for Assisting Veteran After VBA Made Mistake

During the past eight months, Bergmann & Moore repeatedly shared troubling news about the serious problems facing the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) as the agency struggles to decide veteran’s disability claims in a timely and accurate manner.

Now Bergmann & Moore shares news that award-winning journalist Aaron Glantz at the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) exposes VBA’s claim error rates are worsening, despite VBA assurances to veterans and Congress that VBA’s crisis is under control.

His coverage reveals shocking news about how one VBA employee was fired for assisting a veteran when another VBA employee apparently wrongfully denied the veteran’s disability claim for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Glantz’ reporting was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, by The Daily Beast, and on KGO/ABC7 in San Francisco.

VBA insists the agency’s error rate is 14 percent.  However, an analysis by CIR “found a 38 percent average error rate for claims involving disabilities like traumatic brain injury and illnesses linked to the Vietnam-era defoliant Agent Orange,” based on a CIR review of VA Office of the Inspector General visits to VBA offices during the past year.

VBA leaders repeatedly promise a claim error rate at 2 percent. The news investigation reveals that VBA’s error-filled decisions are between seven and 19 times higher than VBA’s goal.

While most VBA employees are conscientious, VBA’s poor performance is a reminder more must be done now for our veterans.  VBA can and must improve, with better training, streamlined regulations, stronger oversight by Congress, more staff, and a change in VBA culture that puts veterans’ needs first.

Bergmann & Moore was honored to assist CIR and Aaron Glantz, and we will keep you posted on VBA’s inability to fix the broken claims system.

 

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