VA employees at the VA enrollment center in Atlanta dragged their feet for so long and delayed processing applications from 34,000 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans for so long that the applications expired, and the 34,000 combat veterans lost their eligibility for VA healthcare.
In some cases the applications were delayed illegally for nearly 3 years. That is a national disgrace.
Scott Davis, a program specialist at the VA enrollment center in Atlanta, first revealed the illegal actions by his fellow VA workers in a letter to Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga). Then Davis revealed the details of exactly what happened by testifying before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
According to Davis, VA employees at the VA enrollment center in Atlanta deliberately delayed processing the applications for VA healthcare benefits filed by Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans through the VA’s online application system, eBenefits.
Davis testified that the VA employees at the enrollment center in Atlanta designated the applications as pending because they lacked income information. However, under federal law, combat veterans are not required to verify their income when applying for VA benefits.
The VA employees knew that, but they didn’t care. According to Davis, they wanted to reduce the number of veterans applying for VA health care in order to make the statistics, for things like wait times, look better.
In his testimony before Congress, Davis put it this way.
“I’ll give you an example of the sort of lackadaisical attitude by VA management. In the report that I read from earlier, in 2013, it talks about the backlog. It talks about the slow processing of online applications.
“Could anyone imagine an application for health care that you can write in your house, drive to a VA medical facility, wait in line, turn it in to someone at the counter, wait for them to process it is actually faster in 2014 than the online process?”
According to the VA’s eBenefits website, if the veteran needs time to obtain supporting evidence, the veteran can begin the eBenefits application process, obtain their evidence and then complete their application. The VA will recognize the date the veteran started the application as the veteran’s date of claim as long as the veteran completes the application within one year.
But the VA employees at the VA’s enrollment center in Atlanta short circuited that process by demanding unnecessary information from the Iraq and Afghan war veterans, and that delayed the eBenefits application process for those veterans beyond the one year time limit, and that costs those combat veterans their eligibility for VA health care benefits.
Punishment is justice for the unjust.
Maybe those VA employees at the VA’s enrollment center should be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan and be forced to stay there until each and every one of the combat veterans whose applications they messed with obtains the VA health care benefits they earned by risking their live in combat.
Scott Davis filed for whistle blower protection in January, 2014.