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Inept VA staffers shred veteran's claims documents

Missouri veterans who applied for benefits and kept wondering why there had been no response to their application may be concerned about his or her situation. Additionally, they may find it surprising to learn about a recent situation that involved staff members at the Los Angeles VA Regional Office.

According to recent reports, staff members improperly shredded numerous disability claims without even viewing and assessing them. That irresponsible act was uncovered by the Office of the Inspector General for Veterans Affairs, which found quite a few claim documents inside shredders, which were meant for non-claim-related documents.

Such acts drastically affected the claims made by the veterans and they may be deprived of benefits. According to the IG reports, those documents were an important part of the veterans' permanent records and shredding them may have potentially affected their future financial status.

According to the same report, the documents that were found shredded included compensation claims submitted by two homeless veterans and medical documents of another veteran who was suffering from service-connected post-traumatic stress disorder.

If the shredding had not been discovered, the veterans may have been required to submit the documents again, and that would have delayed the consideration of the claims. The veterans may have also lost the opportunity to receive increased benefits, if any. Apart from that, even if the veterans would have resubmitted their medical documents, errors by the VA would have delayed the consideration of the veteran's benefits claim.

Investigators suggested that this error occurred because the staff members in the concerned department were not trained properly. Many staff members were not aware of how the claim-processing activities are conducted and how to identify claims and claim-related documents. Additionally, the staff members were not supervised properly and nobody stopped them from incorrectly placing the claim documents in red shredders instead of putting them in red envelopes.

Those dealing with issues regarding veteran's benefits claims or any other issues regarding disability claims should take the time to fully understand his or her situation. These matters could become complicated, so seeking legal guidance could help applicants make informed and timely decisions.

Source: WND.com, "VA under fire for tossing claims in trash," Cheryl Chumley, Aug. 18, 2015

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