• These Two Legislators Want To Know Why Veterans’ Claims Are In The Shredding Bin At Los Angeles VA

    Two legislators from California want answers following confirmation from the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General that veterans’ claims are often discarded in a shredding bin at the Los Angeles regional office.

    Democratic Reps. Julia Brownley and Raul Ruiz received word from the inspector general’s office regarding the allegations and began looking into the problem. In response, the VA claimed that only 10 files were placed in the shredding bin, and further that it was simply an accident devoid of malicious intent, Military Times reports.

    It’s unclear whether the figure of 10 files is true. The full number has not yet been released to the inspector general’s office. Two investigative reports are due in August. One deals with leadership and performance, and the other discusses document shredding.

    The office serves 700,000 veterans in California.

    “Such misconduct could have a devastating impact on the affected veterans and their families, resulting in the loss of critical information and adversely affecting the adjudication of veteran claims,” Reps. Brownley and Ruiz wrote in a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald. “Simply put, this is unacceptable.”

    Although Congress is swamped with other issues at the VA, including an in-depth investigation into leaked documents indicating that nearly a third of veterans on the waitlist died while waiting for care, legislators are demanding hearings on the issue. (RELATED: Almost A Third Of Veterans On The 847,000-Long Waitlist Have Died Without VA Care)

    Both Brownley and Ruiz want a meeting with McDonald to determine how many veterans were affected by the shredding, as well as what measures can be put in place to remedy the catastrophe.

    “We request that the shredding of any and all documents at the LA VARO cease immediately,” Brownley and Ruiz added.

    Shredding documents is a widespread problem. An inspector general report in 2008 found that the same practice was occurring across the VA system. Officials adapted new controls to make sure paperwork wouldn’t end up in the shredding pile, but as recently as this year, the inspector general found that the Oakland regional office in California stuffed thousands of claims in a filing cabinet and forgot about them, suggesting a long-standing practice dating back to the mid-1990s. The practice was finally uncovered in 2012, but even after that, many claims still remained abandoned. (RELATED: VA Figures Out Ingenious Way To Process Claims: Stuff Them All In A Cabinet And Forget)

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