On Sunday, journalists reported more disturbing information about the beleaguered Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). VBA is the agency within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) responsible for processing Veterans’ disability benefit claims. Here’s a sample of news coverage:
- Austin American-Statesman: “Central Texas veterans face nation’s longest wait for VA disability claims.” Investigative reporter Jeremy Schwartz’ article was reprinted by Stars & Stripes.
- Associated Press: “Central Texas veterans wait longest for claims,” published in papers across Texas, including the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and the Times Record News.
- Fox Houston: “Near million vets get shafted by VA backlog,” also covered what Texas Veterans face at the Waco and Houston ROs.
- KWTX picked up the story, too.
Bergmann & Moore was quoted by the Austin American-Statesman. VBA “has made similar promises for decades and failed to deliver,” said Paul Sullivan, director of veterans outreach for the Maryland-based law firm Bergmann & Moore and former project manager at the Veterans Benefits Administration. “What’s different this time is enormous public attention, congressional interest and the magnitude of the crisis.”
The dire situation prompted Texas Governor Rick Perry to declare an emergency earlier in August, according to the Killeen Daily Herald, a newspaper focusing on the area around Waco. That means the state government is helping out where the Federal government falls short.
The crisis has two parts: VBA delays, now more than one year in Texas, combined with VBA’s frequent errors. This one-two-punch causes more Veterans to appeal, thereby further overwhelming an already clogged claim processing system. VBA should quickly implement quality training and streamlined regulations in order to reduce the number of VBA mistakes. VBA’s promised training and a new computer system have yet to fully materialize.
Our B&M blogs continue highlighting VBA’s chronic deficiencies with regular updates:
- On July 20, Bergmann & Moore reported how VBA’s Waco and Houston offices are grinding to a halt.
- On July 5, we described a contentious Congressional hearing on VBA’s claim crisis.
- On June 12, Bergmann & More blogged about VBA’s failures in California, where VBA’s claim processing error rate reached 60 percent in Los Angeles.
Bergmann & Moore, LLC, based in the Washington, DC metro area, concentrates only on VA disability benefits law. We have helped thousands of Veterans and their families obtain the VA benefits they are entitled to receive. Bergmann & Moore offers a free legal consultation concerning VA disability claims. We gladly welcome all types of claims, including PTSD, military sexual trauma cases, and unemployability.