Thursday, February 19, 2015

Damages for waiting veterans?

An Inspector General investigation of the Oakland, California VA Regional Office found that several thousand claims had been piled up and not processed dating back to the mid-1990s.  In 2012 it was discovered that approximately 14,000 claims had not been processed.  At this unannounced follow up visit  in July 2014, the IG was unable to tell if the original 14,000 claims discovered two years earlier had been appropriately processed because of VA’s poor record keeping practices. Further, the IG noted that “Oakland VARO staff did not properly store 537 informal claims because these claims were not discovered until the office was undergoing a construction project. Some of these informal claims dated back to July 2002.”  Now, what is the remedy for these veterans who have been waiting so long for benefits?  Is paying back benefits enough or should some type of damages be awarded to these veterans?  Nothing in law allows for this type of payment, yet, but perhaps it is something that should be considered?  It will also be interesting to see if any discipline actions stem from this investigation. See the investigation here:  http://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-14-03981-119.pdf

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/veterans_law/2015/02/damages-for-waiting-veterans.html

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