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Under The Radar: More Mishandled Va Documents

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  • HadIt.com Elder

UNDER THE RADAR: MORE MISHANDLED VA DOCUMENTS

VA whistleblower says he found ten boxes of old mail and a widow's claim from September of 2007.

by Larry Scott, VA Watchdog dot Org

http://www.vawatchdog.org/09/nf09/nfmay09/nf050609-1.htm

For the past few weeks, the emails have been coming in hot and heavy from a whistleblower at the Veterans' Benefits Administration (VBA) of the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA).

This employee works at a VBA Regional Office (RO) in a Southern state and is raising hell about more document mishandling.

But, the emails haven't just been sent to VA Watchdog dot Org. They are being sent to the VA's Office of Inspector General (VAOIG), VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, and just about every other high-ranking VA official you can think of. (When you work for the VA you know those email addresses.)

I reported about this whistleblower on the Under the Radar page on April 2 with the following entry:

An employee of the Veterans' Benefits Administration (VBA) who works at a Regional Office in a Southern state reports more document mishandling. The employee has found VA forms with veterans' personal information lying in the parking lot... and has documented many instances of a veteran's personal information being sent to other veterans. Management refuses to take action. VAOIG has been notified... but has not responded to request for investigation.

The employee's emails have been almost nonstop since that time.

Last week the employee wrote:

The mail keeps backing up so bad .. there is right this moment a stack of 3000 writeouts (2009) stacking up in Triage. They have been sitting in a unused desk for months. We have 500 pieces of returned mail and a box (6000 pieces) of returned mail-COLA. It has been collecting for months in a box under a table. Why do we keep making the same mistakes - because the supervisors / management do not pride themselves on their work / responsibilities or the VA organization. Now, if you ask them to put a table of food together, well then, smiles and dedicated caterers emerge. Character!

And this:

There are thousands of brown folders in the FAB. These folders do not have C-file numbers, no association to C-file. The mail inside is probably not date stamped and has no control. If a claim was pending in the past, this mail was not with the file when a decision was made on the veterans claim. I have found additional service treatment records (STRs) and other evidence not associated with the veterans C-file. Example: I reviewed a file where the veteran filed a claim on Feb 07. The mail in the brown folder was not date stamped.

Now, the email I got today:

To: His boss

Subject: 10 boxes of old mail

I would like to take on this project. I request to take custody of the boxes of mail found in the mail section, yesterday. I will review and get the mail to the files. I will still maintain production.

If someone moves those boxes, that evidence would be lost, trashed. It has happened before, and no one cares enough to go through it. This could impact vets and widows.

The response from this VBA employee's boss was a blow-off that indicated "someone" would take care of it ... and the boss indicated it was not "active" mail. However, I think a person, like this employee, in the VBA who works with the mail every day would know what is active ... or what might be active. At the very least ... check out the boxes and find out if anything is active.

The employee continued:

Today I received an informal claim from a widow. Nothing extraordinary about that. Except, this informal claim was filed in 2007. A claim date stamp 9/19/07. I just received it today. Widow is elderly and she never received a letter from us, or a 21-534 form. Also, I checked, she is not receiving benefits.

Was this claim lost? Misfiled? Or, stuck in a box of paperwork someone considered not "active."

This VBA whistleblower has put his career on the line.

So, who's listening? VAOIG? Secretary Shinseki? All the others who received the emails?

What about Rep. Bob Filner or Sen. Daniel Akaka, our Chairpersons of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees? The term "oversight" comes to mind.

It is obvious that the VBA still has massive document mishandling problems. But, what will be done about it?

"Keep on, Keepin' on"

Dan Cedusky, Champaign IL "Colonel Dan"

See my web site at:

http://www.angelfire.com/il2/VeteranIssues/

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  • HadIt.com Elder

This is the tip of the iceberg. Something has to be done. No one who has a claim deserves this. What are the VSO's doing about this. It is almost like once they send in a claim they never follow up on it.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

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This is HORRIBLE!!! Who has posession of these records now? These are Federal Records, and someone at the White House should CARE!!! ~Wings

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