Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

VA Official at Claims Summit: VA’s Disability Claim System “Cannot be Fixed”

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 23, 2010

AIG and CNA get off the hook while many of  you are forced into this overburdened VA Health System.   Some, even one of your DBA Lawyers suggested to Congress that Injured Civilian Contractors use the VA system rather than make the DBA insurance companies pay for the benefits they took premiums for.

At Veterans for Common Sense

March 18, 2010, Washington, DC (Federal Times) – Bailing wire and bandages cannot save the veterans’ disability claims process, the Veterans Affairs Department’s chief technology officer said Thursday at a roundtable discussion about ways of cutting the growing backlog of claims and improving accuracy.

“In my judgment, it cannot be fixed,” said Peter Levin. “We need to build a new system, and that is exactly what we are going to do.”

Levin’s comments came at a meeting organized by the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee to toss around ideas for repairing a system that has a backlog of about 1.1 million claims awaiting decisions and an error rate on claims of 17 to 25 percent, depending on who is counting.

Rep. Bob Filner, D-Va., the veterans’ committee chairman, described the system as an “insult to veterans” who, on average, wait six months for an initial decision on benefits and who can wait for years if the decision is appealed.

“It looks like we are going backwards rather than forward,” Filner said. “No matter how much we raise the budget, no matter how many people we hire, the backlog seems to get bigger.”

“People die before their claim is adjudicated. They lose their home. Those lost their car,” Filner said.

6 Responses to “VA Official at Claims Summit: VA’s Disability Claim System “Cannot be Fixed””

  1. daffodils said

    “People die before their claim is adjudicated…” Filner said.

    This is the whole entire point of delaying and denying DBA claims. No man no problem. No diagnosis equals no evidence of disability equals no claim for those left behind.
    Or the medical diagnosis unemployed civilian contractors can actually afford is routinely rejected by the ALJs who prefer the elaborate albeit deceptive and prejudiced opinions of insurance doctors, many of whom do this for a living.

    Where else should their bonus money come from?

  2. Talk about a “broken” VA system is a joke itself. When, as a daily routine at many VA regional offices, incoming mail is destroyed, how can there be a system?
    We don’t know this to be true.
    I do have statements from high ranking VA officials who have seen this done on a daily basis, but, what is that worth?
    Who would believe a government official?

  3. […] VA Official at Claims Summit: VA’s Disability Claim System “Cannot be Fixed” &laqu… […]

  4. daffodils said

    Well Gordon, believe this one, more info when you follow the link…..

    Veterans and “Shreddergate” destruction of compensation claims
    destruction of compensation claims Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 09:01:29 PM PDT
    In the latest disclosure of “SHREDDER GATE” which disabled veterans have been screaming about for years, and was just “discovered” last year when a Detroit VARO employee blew the whistle.

    Larry Scott of VA (links to all articles about shreddergate) has en extensive online library of news stories related to this mess. I was reading his newest article and a few things caught my attention. Like the possibility the VA was destroying more than one million documents a year (in one office) they have 57 offices around the world. It hasn’t been proven that destruction has happened at every office, just most of them.

  5. defensebaseactcomp said

    Thanks Gordon and Daff for adding some fuel to this fire.

    A huge number of injured contractors with PTSD and TBI are already in the VA system though AIG and CNA have been paid to take care of them. They are getting their disability ratings from the VA and then having them denied by the insurance company.

    This is not an additional burden the VA can absorb.

    Screaming into a black hole we are…….

  6. daffodils said

    I rest my case, consider that there have been more civilian contractors than soldiers:

    Veterans For Common Sense et al. v. Peake, Case No. C 07 3758, U.S.D.C. (N.D. Cal.)

    106. Between October 1, 2007, and March 31, 2008, alone, at least 1,467 veterans died during the pendency of their appeals. When an appellant dies, the appeal is extinguished. RT 1173:24-1174:1.
    107. It is beyond doubt that disability benefits are critical to many veterans and any delay in receiving these benefits can result in substantial and severe adverse consequences, including the inability to make mortgage or car payments.

    We NOT WORRIED about the MORGAGE, JUDGE CONTI, but about HOLD MY HAND I’M DYING and you are doing nothing to stop it!!!

    3. Depression, PTSD, and Suicide
    24. Dr. Ronald Maris, an expert witness for Plaintiffs in suicidology, testified that depression and PTSD are two of leading risk factors for suicide. Ingeneral, Dr. Maris was highly critical of the manner in which the VA is treating suicidal or potentially suicidal veterans.
    25. Dr. Alan Berman testified as an expert witness for Defendants in suicidology. RT 1272:4-10. Dr. Berman agreed that depression is a leading risk factor for suicide and that PTSD is a “significant risk factor.” Id. 1322:25-1323:6. Dr. Berman also
    agreed that it is important to treat PTSD on a timely basis, and that PTSD, if not properly treated, can lead to depression, and that depression and PTSD, if not properly treated, increase the risk of suicide. Id. 13237-20. Dr. Berman agreed that soldiers
    returning from Iraq have an elevated rate of suicide.
    26. Dr. Blank testified that there is a strong connection between PTSD and suicide. RT 69:23-70:6. He also testified that depression is one outcome of untreated PTSD and that depression increases the risk of suicide. Dr. Blank was critical of the VA’s treatment methods for veterans with PTSD.

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