GAO Report Shows Chronic VA Errors
Yet another Government Accountability Office (GAO) report about our government failing Veterans on a large scale has been released. However, there has still only been minimal action to address these problems by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), the agency in charge of processing disability compensation claims.
The GAO, the government’s watchdog agency, recently concluded that VBA was inconsistently processing Veterans’ disability claims for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) associated with Military Sexual Trauma (MST).
Wide Inconsistencies at VBA
GAO’s title says it all: “Military Sexual Trauma: Improvements Made, but VA Can Do More to Track and Improve the Consistency of Disability Claim Decisions.”
The oversight investigation was very critical of VBA, finding “wide variation in approval rates among regional offices, which ranged from 14 to 88 percent in fiscal year 2013.” While VBA has implemented some training, the discrepancies are far too broad and show that urgent action, such as training and oversight, is needed.
Scope of MST is Significant
Army Times described the widespread crisis of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and rape within the military. “According to 2012 VA statistics, one in five female Veterans and one in 100 male Veterans reported some type of sexual abuse while in the military.
From fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2013, Veterans filed more than 29,000 claims for disabilities related to military sexual trauma, with most attributing post-traumatic stress disorder to the abuse,” wrote reporter Leo Shane III.
Impact on Veterans with PTSD / MST Claims
Veterans may want to have their VBA rating decision reviewed, especially if it involved PTSD and/or MST. VBA’s mistakes include wrongful denials, low ratings, a failure to pay retroactive disability compensation, and failures to gather and consider important evidence favorable to the Veteran.
Managed by former VA attorneys, Bergmann & Moore is a national law firm that has helped thousands of Veterans and families obtain the VA disability benefits they earned. Call us if you are unemployed due to your military service or have lost a loved one due to a service-related disease or injury.