IG Report: VA Has Been Shredding Documents Needed for Veterans’ Claims
Department of Veterans Affairs investigators conducted spot checks at 10 veterans benefits offices around the country and came to a disturbing conclusion: The VA has been systemically shredding documents related to veterans’ claims — some potentially affecting their benefits.
The VA Office of Inspector General conducted the surprise audit at 10 regional offices on July 20, 2015, after an investigation into inappropriate shredding in Los Angeles found that staff there was destroying veterans’ mail related to claims, according to an OIG report released Thursday.
Investigators arrived unannounced at regional offices and sifted through 438,000 documents awaiting destruction as of 11 a.m. Of 155 claims-related documents, 69 were found to have been incorrectly placed in shred bins at six of the regional offices: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Reno, Nev. There were none at Baltimore, Oakland, San Juan and St. Petersburg, Fla.
Investigators determined that two of the 69 documents affected benefits directly, nine had the potential to affect benefits and the rest would not affect benefits but were required to be in the claims folders before destruction and were not there.
It was enough, the report said, to conclude that not only were the problems systemic, the impact could be serious. …read more here
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