Little Rock VA Caught Defrauding 48 Veterans
VA OIG conducted a surprise inspection at Little Rock VA looking into previously overlooked claims found two years ago and discovered regional office employees gave the claims fraudulent claims dates potentially saving VA tens of thousands in back pay.
Allegations surfaced that Little Rock was manipulating claims. Two years ago, VA OIG found numerous claims that were misplaced. During the recent surprise investigation, inspectors found VA employees issued fraudulent dates on the records by giving the claims records a filing date of the day they were discovered rather than the date filed.
The effect of this fraud, if unchecked, would result in veterans being cheated out of thousands of dollars in back pay by providing an erroneous date on the records.
Why do VA employees continue to cheat veterans out of their disability compensation checks and continue to get away with it?
Here is how the fraud worked according to ArkansasOnline:
From May 22, 2013, to June 20, 2014, dates had been adjusted on 48 cases in Little Rock. Forty-three of the claims were related to veterans seeking compensation for disabilities they contend were a result of their military service.
According to the report, those 43 claims were marked with a date that was an average of one year, 8 months more recent than it was originally submitted. One claim was 20 years old, but the date had been marked to make it appear only 2 weeks old, the report states.
The other five claims dealt with nondisability compensation, such as monthly allowances for veterans’ dependents. An average of five years, 9 months had elapsed from the time those claims were received and the date they were stamped with, according to the report. One claim was 16 years old and marked to seem 6 days old.
Little Rock VA has a reputation for fixing problems once they are found. So, hopefully this regional office will make a point to correct the fraudulent policy interpretation and adjudicate the claims quickly.
I’ve been fighting the VA since 2005. They’ve lost records or said the never received them. They made appointments for me in support of my claim, but wouldn’t send me any type of letter letting me know about them. Now that I have an attorney, they still pulled their garbage, and after having an attorney for two years they didn’t even acknowledge I had any, and wouldn’t send them any corispondance. Still, my attorneys have to send them medical records over and over again. Hell, I was even told to prove my injuries happen in the military when they have the surgery reports from Ft. Carson. Now with the back log stuff, they once again denied my claim without even looking at my file. Tired! Tired! Tired! I wish I had someone to write to about this. I do get some BS letter from my congressman that their office is watching on my behalf. Hehe! What crap!
If you are working on a claim or appeal, request your C-file from your regional office to see what evidence they are using to determine your case. They have 20 days to respond to your request or give you a reason for their denial. If they deny you have the right to go to a federal judge to order your files. These are yours to use in defending your claim. The VA will often deny but you have a right to those records. The VA has a responsibility to assist with any records that will help your claim. Read VA Duty to assist on-line.
Get a laywer, you can’t win. I am using, http://www.jackson-macnichol.com,1-800-524-3339, they have 26 years helping vets. How much $$ is the Gov. wasting fighting our claims, after they said, we earned em?? Question, how long does it take to get: food stamps,housing, free phone etc.. from the Gov??? You can find other Lawyers helping Vets online. Good-Luck
There would not be much lost benefits. The claims that were found each had a VA date stamp, which would be present regardless of what is entered in the computer. I encouraged vets to get copies of claims front and back so they had proof the VA got the claim and when. As long as the Rating Board reviews the claim for a date stamp, then the correct effective date will still be assigned. Of course if there is rampant fraud taking place, there is no guaranty of anything. But it will not be nearly as bad as suggested.
I think the point given is the VA is actually falsifying THAT “date stamp” as well and that’s very problematic for any Veteran because they could care LESS what we may have in OUR hard copies…and they COUNT on Veterans being afraid to question authority.
Time to cease being passive.
I also think Ben would be an excellent choice for a new VA Secretary…but it would clearly never happen because Ben knows too much and the VA would probably screw with his own VA Disability if it were to happen. Sad, but probably true.
VA sucks balls. Big shweatt balls. We need to file a lawsuit that will rock the boat so hard the American taxpayer feels it!
it is never going to change. Fraud everyday and nothing ever happens. If we commit fraud, we are prosecuted. This is as widespread as the waiting lists.
Suggest people start writing the federal office of special counsel which is an independent federal investigative body and start to report people, OIG officials and VA officials for criminal acts and failing to do a thing about criminal acts and also wrongdoing or threats against whistleblowers Go to Federal Office of special counsel Its where also Lt Col Dan Gl;ad should ask be reported fro breaking the law and involved in politics while in an Army uniform.
Lee Horowitz M.Ed, CAGS
US Navy Veteran- Disabled Vietnam Era Veteran
Veterans Advocate/ Veterans civil rights advocate
“GAO is unimpressed with reform promises and the appointment of a new VA Secretary and named the entire Vets Administration a HIGH-RISK program.”
Oh yea? Really now. I think the VA is highly successful in lining the pockets of it’s management with crispies ($$$$$$ & $). Plan is still going well, matter of fact. No work, no Risk, no money for veterans, no health care that costs anything more than a dollar, no complaints that are being effective so far, no pain medicine, no brains, no risk. No nee, no no, nee nee, noo noo, nah. Hey dude, FUCK YOU!!
The VA has recently arrested my wife, my son and now I am under threat of arrest and much worse, due to Secretary McDonald’s incompetent leaderships, worsened lately by his lying scam of stolen valor that he was in Special Forces. MY CLAIM GOES ALL THE WAY BACK TO 1976, when the US Marines documented in writing that I finally got a copy of recently, that I was 100 % service-connected for VA purposes starting then. Worse yet, the retro pay that I was told by my US Congressman was close to being approved, appears to have been fraudulently given to an impostor of some kind. I would not know about this but my wife recently by accident happened to catch it on the news where some alleged veteran was handed a check for about $1.2 million by my Congressman! Then, this weekend, in identical fashion to the recent murders of veteran snipers by other veterans, a veteran came along when my son and I were in a meeting where he is getting ready to start college next fall. The veteran was somehow set up to do this so it is not his fault, but he was acting very bizarre and was dressed as a cop as a police cadet in the college’s police program. He took over the meeting we were having with the campus Veterans Services Coordinator and her assistant, then after I finally calmed him down, he blurted out that he “had a complete PTSD breakdown at the firing range the day before”. You can bet that the veterans and servicemen who have been murdered by each other lately is because of financial cost containment by the VA. The campus was in no way involved in this bizarre attempt on my son’s life and my life, because it was clear he was going to kill not just us but also the Vet services directors there on campus too, then no doubt kill himself. It would take 100,000 more words to substantiate that here but it is what was going down. The VA is by all account totally out of control, they are an organized crime syndicate of some kind that will literally do anything to defraud vets out of their earned benefits. They have a big strategy of getting vets to put pistols in their mouths and pull the trigger that is cleverly organized by corrupt self-serving PTSD therapists, incompetent greedy doctors who get bonuses at least indirectly for the 22 or so vets who blow their brains out every day which is more than twice the national average compared to non-veterans. My Congressman’s assistant in Washington D.C. promised he would call me back immediately when I simply asked about he status of my claim; he of course did not; and when i called back he would not take my call.
Ben, my son. A VAOIG hit team sneaking up on an AOJ? The trip flares in the concertina were going off a month before they got there in spite of what Harris might try to imply. It makes for good OIG theatre though.
Yeah, so I have a VASH Caseworker who was a contract employee with the VA HCS and recently she told me she got hired as a permanent employee. The funny and nonsuprising part of our conversation was how she told me that she didn’t think she was going to last at the job because she didn’t know how to deal with the way the VA her bosses were making her and other VA employees treat and conduct business towards the VETERANS they were working with. How her bosses made her treat VETERANS had made her want to quit but she needed her job and just did what she had to do to keep her job even though the rules her bosses used to treat VETERANS including myself were intolerable and not right. Imagine her telling me this information and the effect it has had on me in the last few weeks? Not surprising to me but it has occupied space in.my head thinking about what are they doing to fuck me over….mental health appts, physical health appts, VASH appts, service connected VA claims, records information from what I’ve discussed with my VA healthcare people or any other information that may have been twisted, misappropriated,misused, changed, frauded etc. Your are an Atty, you know this has fucked with my head badly, my depression, anxiety, pts, everything has dramatically been magnified and I don’t know how to handle it. What do I do? How do I do something to make it right? How do I make it public to protect myself and my fellow veterans? I can’t fight this on my own and I need help! Please man, help me. Im all alone and not feeling very good about my dealings with my VA system here. Im am so bummed and feel so cheated and so unpatriotic about my service and my benefits. She and that information totally shattered me.
She was put on perm because the VA is desperate for people to take jobs there. Of course, the people she reports to and the culture SUCKS there. I have to laugh at who the VA is kidding when they claim they have a hard time firing people there because the employees are so well protected by fed rules and unions. The question is who are they going to replace the ones “fired” (moved) with?. A person who hates the culture there from day one?
But don’t worry, the VA comes in only second to last in terms of poor morale of their employees… Homeland Security Administration comes in dead last, beating the VA out. That place must be a real pip to work for. Don’t you feel well-protected with our government handling every single thing in our lives? They hope you do.
I agree with all that feel the problems are systemic and not just in Little Rock. Anyone involved in such activity should be prosecuted, not retired or moved to other VA facilities.
I would suggest you also file criminal charges with the office of special counsel of the US government who do special investigations into criminal wrongdoing by federal employees and if OIg covers it up or other officials put them in the mix and file charges with the office of special counsel.
Lee Horowitz, M.Ed, CAGS
So what is the Contact info for that office…[email protected]
It happened to me; the Manchester NH VA changed the date on my claim to one (1) year later than the actual claim date. The claim was two (2) years old and the retroactive pay was for only one (1) year, a loss to me (and savings to the VA) of $9,000.00. Like most other veterans, I am not naïve enough to think that mine is an isolated case.
Totally believe this is on a MUCH widespread basis and I BET that some people in management look at this money “saved by cheating Veterans” money in THEIR POCKETS IN FORM OF A BONU$. SHAME ON THEM!
Just shear mathematical statistics easily mirrors what each of us already know in that this happens ALL OVER the Regional Offices of VA and we are not even touching the number of “lost claim files”…we are just talking in this article about fudging the #’s to cheat Veterans ONCE THEY ARE CAUGHT.
I am really glad to see these errors caught BUT why is the cynic in me thinking this is simply the VA OIG throwing the press a bone to make the Sec. of VA look better in the daylight than he was last week?
Why no talk of the VA OIG doing widespread S.W.A.T. RECON OPERATIONS on ALL the Regional Offices and VAMC’s across the USA?
As long as the Unions are protecting the VA/Gov’t. Employees, NOTHING WILL CHANGE IN THE LONGTERM! (and I am typically pro-unions)
There seems to be absolutely NO disciplinary ramifications at the VA for employee gross negligence and as long as there’s nothing to place the fear of God in them that they actually COULD and WILL be FIRED, sadly, nothing will change.
They’ve been doing this sort of thing all along. It no doubt goes on at other RO’s as well. It’s all part of cheating the veteran in order to save every nickel and dime that they can. They get away with it because veterans aren’t able to do anything about it.
I can see how this is possible. Supervisors know this happens because it comes from the top to save money. Veterans are just happy they won and are getting something. VA knows we won’t complain. I have a helpless child claim in since 2012, but I guarantee once it is approved it will be like they just opened the case and will get cheated. This is probably the reason they lump everything together from the last claim filed.
Or like my case, I started my request for an increase in 2008. It was approved in 2014 but not all of it was increased. Some of what was asked to be increased was approved for one knee and not the other knee. Also what they approved for an increase was from 2013. I should have gotten it all back to the ’08 date. They thought that if they did approve me for some and did not go back on all of it, I would accept it and go on. As you said, they thought that I would be happy and won’t complain. Wrong, I appealed the award and I am still waiting for the answer.
I also agree that this is a much more wide spread than this VA facility. I also wonder after reading namnibor’s statement that this may be something to help Bob. It will be interesting to see how many people Bob “fires” over this. Just remember, he might have to correct himself afterwards because he may have “misspoke” or “misremembered” or ” ” (you fill in what you want)
The VA in Salt Lake City did the same thing to my claim last year. When it went into backlog status, someone changed the date from May of 2013 to September of 2013. The second I noticed this I complained formally to the RO, the IG, and my congressman. Once I got the congressional inquiry started, I did get the extra backpay (a big thank you to Congressman Bishop’s staff!). No one, however, at any point or any level indicated that any disciplinary action would be taken against the person who manipulated the date on my claim.
This happened shortly after Congress passed the legislation last summer that would ostensibly increase accountability for the VA. I was skeptical that this legislation wouldn’t do much before this happened, but this confirmed my worst fears that this was simply passed for optics. Also, I think we now have even less leverage with Congress because they can tell us that they have already “fixed” all the problems facing the VA.
1. Identify the problem!
Is it fraud by executives and/or incompetent first line supervisors and adjudicators?
2. Find a solution!
Obviously, if up to the culprits it’s a lack of training. But what can be done if the SecDVA announces that the ROs have 3 months to fix (NOT HIDE OR DESTROY) these problems,
3. Establish top-down remedies!
The brown stuff flows from the top. RO and VAMC Directors are responsible, if problems aren’t corrected, the Directors, the associates, departmental heads, branch and section managers and line supervisors, as well as employees should be fired, not allowed to retire.
Promise the employee unions they will be de-certified for employees not meeting standards of ethical conduct (and no training, these are character based behaviors from birth).
I am in that network ,it took me many many years. To win my claim after securing all my records I noticed something on my medical records ,stated I [email protected] long before I was actually awarded my claim ,The really strange thing about my claim was that the person from the VA claim office personally called me after my service officer typed up my appeal ,he stated to me I had won my claim & I asked him what he was talking about he said I was [email protected]% TDIU ,at the time I did not understand fully what this was but he said if I did not accept this that it would go to DC and possibly set for couple of years ,What was so strange is that for 6 years he always sent denial letters & then he personally calls me o tell me I won my claim I asked DAV how many times have they ever heard of this man doing this. They said never ,I still think there was something strange about that call ,& the next day there was money in my bank account not as much as what my medical records are dated back to
So who was fired? Answer: No one.
As long as these prima donnas (government employees) can’t get fired, even if they kill veterans, or defraud them (yes it is fraud, as it was intent to deny rightful benefits) Hell, they are not even embarrassed when they are exposed.
Does anyone out there actually thinks the VA will change?
They should get jobs at Rockford Products, a maker of SCREWS!
The VA has been MANIPULATING claim dates as a whole. They have all the RECORDS TO BACK UP DENIALS, but NONE CAN BE FOUND TO SUPPORT APPROVALS.
Again, let us pray for our govt.
i just finally got my disability reinstated and they have cheated me out of thousands in back pay and cheated me on one of my disability claims!
I believe that. It me 20 plus years to get to the BVA, won case as CUE. It went back to regional office and I was told I get nothing. I had the person look closer after I received letter of denial. He did not even know it was a care unmistakable error. (CUE). They then gave me 10% back pay like 20k. But it continues to bother me, because I did get to the BVA and they ruled in my favor.
But what do you do? That was in 2011.
These people don’t care. They think they are above the law. And it seems so.
Read (be instructed by) Congressional Research Service / Statutory Presumptions (by law clerk Nichols October 2010). Likewise, you might get some ideas or other ideas from reading about (let’s say) the first 80 pages of The Nehmer Court Order: The Nehmer Training Guide 2011 Revised. Wishing you the best of truth; yes feel free: [email protected]
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