Half of Calif. Disability Claims Decided Wrong

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Recent audits show California regional offices are not processing disability claims correctly 50 percent of the time.

On average, California regional offices made errors in 50 percent of the claims files evaluated. If California does that poor of a job with all the disability claims, disabled veterans in California are at a significant disadvantage.

A series of audits by the Department of Veterans Affairs evaluated Oakland regional office, San Diego regional office, and Los Angeles regional office.

On average, California regional offices made errors in 43 percent of the claims files evaluated. If California does that poor of a job with all the disability claims, disabled veterans in California are at a significant disadvantage.

Disabled veterans are better off having their claims evaluated almost anywhere else. For veterans reading this, be sure to look over your claim to ensure it was evaluated properly.

Below are excerpts from the Veterans Affairs Office Inspector General (OIG).

Veterans Affairs OIG inspection of Oakland regional office

Key summary:

Here is what the Department of Veterans Affairs actually wrote:

“VARO performance was generally effective in processing herbicide exposure-related disability claims. However, it lacked accuracy in processing some disability claims. VARO staff did not accurately process 35 (39 percent) of 90 disability claims we sampled. These results do not represent the overall accuracy of disability claims processing at this VARO. The VARO lacked effective controls and accuracy in processing some disability claims. Inaccuracies in processing temporary 100 percent disability evaluations resulted when staff did not schedule or establish controls for future medical reexaminations. Staff incorrectly interpreted policy and used inadequate medical examinations to process traumatic brain injury claims. VARO management did not ensure staff timely completed all elements of Systematic Analyses of Operations, properly processed mail, accurately addressed Gulf War veterans’ entitlement to mental health treatment, and properly reviewed claims pending for more than a year.”

Veterans Affairs OIG inspection of Los Angeles regional office

Key summary:

  • 60 percent of disability claims not processed accurately
  • Insufficient medical examinations for traumatic brain injuries
  • Staff inaccurately interpreted policy with Agent Orange type claims
  • Mail was not processed properly
  • Gulf war veterans’ claims were incorrectly processed
  • Claims were closed early
  • Claims, when delayed, were delayed longer than normal

Here is what the Department of Veterans Affairs actually wrote:

“We found the Los Angeles VARO staff provided adequate outreach to homeless shelters and followed the policy for correcting errors identified by Systematic Technical Accuracy Review staff. However, it lacked accuracy in processing some disability claims. VARO staff did not accurately process 54 (60 percent) of 90 disability claims we sampled as part of our inspection. These results do not represent the overall accuracy of disability claims processing at this VARO. The VARO lacked effective controls and accuracy in processing some disability claims. Staff used insufficient medical examination reports to process traumatic brain injury claims. Further, errors in herbicide exposure-related disability claims occurred because staff incorrectly interpreted policy. VARO management did not ensure staff properly processed mail, or accurately addressed Gulf War veterans’ entitlement to mental health treatment. Further, inadequate monitoring of corrective actions on prematurely closed claims and lack of management controls over the processing of oldest pending claims resulted in significant delays.”

Veterans Affairs OIG inspection of San Diego regional office

Key summary:

Here is what the Department of Veterans Affairs actually wrote:

“OIG conducted this inspection to evaluate how well the San Diego VARO accomplishes its mission. We found the San Diego VARO staff provided adequate outreach to homeless shelters and service providers. However, it lacked accuracy in processing some disability claims. VARO staff did not accurately process 42 (53 percent) of 79 disability claims we sampled as part of our inspection. These results do not represent the overall accuracy of disability claims processing at this VARO. VARO staff did not always correct errors identified by the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Systematic Technical Accuracy Review program. Further, they did not always include all mandatory analyses or complete all elements of Systematic Analyses of Operations. VARO staff did not properly process mail or accurately address Gulf War veterans’ entitlement to mental health treatment. Delays occurred in processing claims pending more than 365 days when staff did not request adequate supporting evidence or timely follow up on past due actions.”

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3 Comments

  1. I recently received a letter from my own Congressman Devin Nunes, dated Aug 20, 2012, acknowledging my pending 12 year case with the VARO with delays and mistakes made, with attached correspondence to The Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary, General Eric Shinseki, dated Aug 02, 2012, concerning this very slow processing of claims with delays and mistakes in California. The letter amazingly had an attachment of 51 signatures from Representatives in Congress! They are listening and investigating. I have forwarded these to my own VARO in Oakland, CA, who has made MANY mistakes and delays my own service connected disability issues for many years, and I also sent this correspondence to the last BVA acting judge, who made the latest decision/order for my claim file, which VARO has also misinterpreted and/or, manipulated and caused delays on, once again; and are in contempt of the judges orders. Yesterday I mailed the following letter with blog link to the various White House Officials and their offices, to see if they have the balls to do something about the processing and interpretation of requests and claims properly and justly and in a timely manor for ALL VETERANS. I think this would help with frustrations and possible depression, suicide prevention, etc., of many veterans and their families. When I last checked with Patriot Outreach, the veteran suicide rate was averaging about 21 a day. Why won’t your leaders expose these problems? I urge all of you to ask your Representatives and Members of Congress about these issues. Just cut and paste my story with the below links, in an e-mail to your leaders.

    http://www.grief-recovery.org/uploads/Sucide-Veterans.pdf

    https://www.disabledveterans.org/2012/06/07/california-regional-offices-rank-poorly/
    ___________

    Dear Mr President, Vice President, Mrs Obama and Mrs Biden,

    Thank you for your service. I am a Disabled American Veteran who has struggled with a broken VARO system for about 25 years. My concern is more for the newer veterans and disabled veterans, due to my past and present experiences with the VA and VARO system. My own latest claims have taken about 11 years to process and to finally get some half way decent decisions; most all of the issues were full of delays, manipulations and mistakes over these years, which has caused more delays and mistakes!

    Please help the veterans and their families, who have been treated poorly and unjustly. Many seek benefit direction and/or, restitution regarding a claim or Service Connected Disability; only to end up more discouraged and depressed than when they first started. This may be contributing to suicide rate increases in our military and veterans families. Please follow this blog link to see just how bad the processing is.

    https://www.disabledveterans.org/2012/06/07/california-regional-offices-rank-poorly/

    http://www.grief-recovery.org/uploads/Sucide-Veterans.pdf

  2. If you are working and get injured while working at your workplace then you can get medical care and in case if due to some reason or injury you cannot work then you will get money from the worker’s compensation insurance from your employer. The amount of money depends on the injury and the location of the workplace. It is necessary to start safety training programs for workers so as to reduce the no. of accidents and by this there will be less compensation due to less number of injuries. Disability claims should be properly reviewed and compensation on time is very necessary.

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