According to a whistleblower in the U.S. Department of Veteran affairs around 34, 000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan lost benefit eligibility while officials waited on veteran applications, sometimes until they expired, causing permanent loss of benefits.
Scott Davis, a program specialist in Atlanta’s enrollment center, alleges that the VA delayed processing applications that did not include the veteran’s income information. However, that information is not necessary for veterans to receive benefits.
“This is not an accident, not when you get to those numbers. The VA, again, intentionally has artificial barriers to reduce the number of people who can use the system,” Davis told The Washington Examiner.
This was apparently a lengthy process since veterans have five years from their date of separation to apply for benefits. Davis told Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia that there were 18, 000 people still waiting in the queue to hear about applications, and another 16, 000 who had their veteran applications ignored until the five-year mark had lapsed. Those applications were marked as pending until time ran out.
Davis tried to alert two Republican Congress members that the VA in Atlanta was sitting on applications. This led to Rep. Mike Coffman, who is chair of the House Subcommittee on VA Oversight and Investigation, to write VA Secretary Robert McDonald on July 10.
“[I]t is my understanding that a number of veterans have had their healthcare expire due to inaction by [the] VA,” Coffman wrote, as reported by the Examiner.
The Obama administration did respond to the allegations by sending some representatives to the Atlanta VA office, but they did not meet with Davis. They have also not released any details of the trip.
Davis continues to try to get the word out, but claims his supervisors are not receptive, and want him to stop talking to the press while the situation is underway.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee is also looking into an internal VA report that claims one in three veterans have died before their applications could be processed.
The VA has yet to respond to the allegations.[RT]