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Two Major Veteran Groups Express Frustration

VA Claim Delay and Error Crisis Continues.  

In what is something eerily reminiscent of an iconic scene from the darkly satiricial movie “Network,” America’s Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) are now mad as heck at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and they say they’re not going to take it anymore.

As Bergmann & Moore blogged on January 4, 2014, VA’s disability claim inventory remains stagnant at 1.4 million. This month, two incidents highlight VSO frustration.

First, on February 5, 2014, the VFW voiced strong disapproval of the ways in which the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA) handles its claims and proposes to prevent Veterans from filing and appealing them in the future.

Second, on February 20, 2014, the American Legion is demonstrably angry because their advocates who assist Veterans with disability claims were unable to meet with VA staff at VA’s Seattle, Washington Regional Office, according to the Seattle Times.

Public displays of disagreement between VA and VSOs is rare.

Legion Reports VBA’s Error Rate is 55 Percent

As Military.com reported last week, VA’s actions against the Legion took place less than a month after a Legion official openly challenged VA on its claims accuracy rate while testifying before Congress, earlier this month. VA asserts the agency’s claim processing error rate is only 10 percent. But Zachary Hearn, deputy director of benefits for the Legion, said the Legion’s review of 260 claims found errors in 55 percent of the claims Legion staff reviewed.

Is what’s past, now prologue?

The last time major American VSO’s expressed strong and unified challenges to VA happened in 1992, when VSOs complained that then-VA Secretary Edward Derwinski presided over a series of perceived political slights and steadily eroding health care benefits. As the New York Times reported back in September, 1992, this led to Derwinski’s resignation

This is a major development in VA-VSO relations, and we’ll keep you posted on any developments.

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