(Washington – June 7, 2017) — The Boston Herald today reported higher than average error rates on veterans’ disability claims at one regional office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“Errors Leave Veterans Shortchanged“, June 7, 2017, by Jack Encarnacao).
The negative impact on veterans is evidenced by quotes from area veterans service organization leaders quoted in the story.
“Some of these veterans have gone through almost bankruptcy, had to sell their house or move, had to make other concessions, because they didn’t have the income to support their family properly,” said Dan Stack, who handles disability claims for the Massachusetts office of Disabled American Veterans, a nonprofit that helps wounded military vets.
The VA’s response claimed it was on part with the rest of the nation and touted its most recent 85.6 percent claims accuracy scores — an error rate of more than 14 percent leaves one in every seven VA claims adjudicated by the office in error. As shown by VA’s most recent data, VA’s nationwide rate is indeed similarly bad for veterans.
Veterans for Common Sense was given the last word.
Appealing a VA disability rating is an arduous process, and it can be hard to secure a lawyer. In 2015, it took an average of three years for a VA rating appeal to be resolved, five years if it reached an appeal board.
That’s time struggling vets simply can’t afford, said Anthony Hardie, director of the D.C. advocacy group Veterans for Common Sense.
“The terrible experiences they’ve had because the VA simply couldn’t get their claim right the first time around,” Hardie said, “that’s just beyond unacceptable.”
Read the full Boston Herald article here.