The Department of Veterans Affairs: Overhaul the claims processing & create mandatory claims deadlines
  • Petitioning The Department of Veterans Affairs

This petition will be delivered to:

Mr. Eric Shinseki
The Department of Veterans Affairs
President of the United States
U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives
Florida-12
Rep. Gus Bilirakis
Florida
Sen. Bill Nelson
Florida-14
Rep. Kathy Castor
Florida-01
Rep. Jeff Miller

The Department of Veterans Affairs: Overhaul the claims processing & create mandatory claims deadlines

    1. Lauren Price
    2. Petition by

      Lauren Price

      new port richey, FL

The Veterans Administration is the only government agency that is virtually autonomous. Even the U.S. Supreme court has determined that they do not have any authority over the Veterans Administration with regard to claims processing.

Unlike other governmental agencies, the VA has not been audited by any external oversight agency. Though it would not matter if they were…they have been audited by their own Inspector General and with regard to claims processing, found woefully deficient. There have been no sanctions, no high level resignations or even actual changes to correct the deficiencies.

The VA has processes and policies in place that, in most cases, have not been changed in decades. The most specific and disastrous of these are the manner in which they hire and promote employees to process claims.

Since the beginning of the first Gulf War, veterans returning from combat in the Middle East have faced an ever increasing “backlog” of claims and an administration that perpetuates the backlog by continuing to hire and promote unskilled / untrained workers to handle the complicated and highly impacting job of claims processing. When these practices are combined with systemic breakdowns which disregard policy, procedure and outright violate regulations, then there is no other result than for the backlog to grow.

Outside of the Veterans Administration (and the U.S. Government), the private sector has an abundance of highly trained claims processing professionals that are educated in the complicated process of handling medical claims. The entire private health insurance industry is supported by these individuals. Yet, the Veterans Administration director, Mr. Shinseki freely admits that who the VA hires and promotes to handle Compensation and Pension claims are untrained. This hiring procedure IS the primary cause of the backlog. Not the endless statements of how many claims they are processing.

Each time there is a major change or addition to the list of issues that a veteran can claim, it only comes after YEARS of study and a lengthy vetting process. The Regional Processing offices are NOT caught off guard. They were not blind-sided, yet this IS their standard excuse as to the continued and ever-increasing backlog in processing claims.

The secondary cause to the ever-increasing backlog is the actual processors. In 2008, the VA instituted the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program. This program was designed to ease the processing burdens both in time and manpower for the VA. The VA has been getting claims and medical information directly from the Services, as the member was being discharged. This program was initiated to streamline the claims process, since, (in theory) everything contained in the service member’s Active Duty medical record was an “automatic” service connected injury or illness, and there was no “development” (investigation) of the injury or illness. Yet, the processors still rejected claims done through the BDD or low-balled them, in direct conflict of their own rating manual and policies.

This system process of claim received; VA denies or low-balls claim, veteran requests reconsideration, VA again denies or low-balls claim, veteran files Notice of Disagreement, VA again denies or low-balls claim, veteran files a formal appeal – this process takes 2-5 YEARS, and then it only gets resolved CORRECTLY if the veteran or a Veteran’s Service Officer, is vigilant, thorough and persistent. Most veterans do not have the fortitude to “fight the system”, become disgruntled and walk away with whatever paltry, half-baked rating the VA offers.

It is no longer tolerable that the VA will take upwards of 3 years to fully vet and properly adjudicate a claim. It is unacceptable that the VA will withhold “back-pay” for months, when it does finally properly adjudicate a claim, based solely on their backlog.

When a processor makes an obvious error, their supervisors have the authority and ability to send a claim back to the processor to correct their mistakes. Rather than do that, the VA policy is to make the VETERAN file an appeal (in some fashion) and essentially start the process over.

These policies, actions and continued behavior are no longer acceptable to those of us paying the bills.

We, the American taxpayers, need to DEMAND a universal overhaul of the VA, including hiring practices, adding mandatory claims processing deadlines and an independent oversight organization with the authority to employ sanctions and repercussions for this continued dereliction of duty, waste of Federal taxpayer funds and abuse of the very people, our veterans, who are the very purpose for this bloated, runaway agency’s existence.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 3,000 signatures
    2. The VA is STILL working hard at covering up their mistakes!

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

      The VA is STILL working hard at covering up their mistakes!

      Contact:
      YN1 Lauren Price USN, (Ret.)
      Founder and Public Affairs Representative
      VeteranWarriors
      727.247.8141
      Email: veteranwarriors@yahoo.com

      VeteranWarriors received this photo from a Veteran this morning. It was taken yesterday at the Baltimore VAMC, Greene Street, Baltimore MD, in the endocrine clinic. It was on the screen in a treatment room. The doctor left the room and the Veteran took the picture.

      The public has been told yet another lie by the VA…that the “Inspection Teams” are visiting the VA Medical Centers without advance warning. If they are not giving out warning of the visits, then WHO crafted this handy little PowerPoint Slide??

      The VA leadership will NEVER stop trying to cover its collective behind! The leadership of the VA is so “AWARE” of how bad things are that they will only do everything in their power to cover it up, rather than step forward, take responsibility and do what is necessary to FIX the problem.

      This is what Congress wants to give MORE funding to rather than hold ANYONE legally ACCOUNTABLE for their actions!!

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=242540329288999&set=a.164262040450162.1073741829.163546717188361&type=1&theater

      Very respectfully,

      “One Family, One Fight”

      YN1 Lauren Price USN, (Ret.)
      Founder and Public Affairs Representative
      VeteranWarriors
      727.247.8141
      Email: veteranwarriors@yahoo.com

      Website: www.VeteranWarriors1.com

    3. Reached 2,500 signatures
    4. Army Times 12/10/13 - Article on VeteranWarriors

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      By Rick Maze Staff writer
      Dec. 10, 2013 - 10:09AM | armytimes.com
      Complex VA Claims
      "A team of veterans that spent five years reviewing the disability claims process accuses the Veterans Affairs Department of exaggerating its success in reducing the claims backlog.
      Testifying Dec. 4 before a House subcommittee that is reviewing how the VA handles complex claims, Lauren Price noted that VA says it has reduced the claims backlog by 35 percent since March — but charged that some of that progress has been achieved without thoroughly and fairly reviewing applications for benefits.
      “The dirty secret is that a disproportionate number of complex claims are still awaiting adjudication or have been closed by awarding the veteran a nominal rating on one or more minor issues,” Price, a medically retired sailor..." http://www.armytimes.com/article/20131210/BENEFITS04/312100009

    5. VA challenged on progress in cutting claims backlog - Army Times 12/10/13

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      By Rick Maze Staff writer
      Dec. 10, 2013 - 10:09AM | armytimes.com
      Complex VA Claims
      "A team of veterans that spent five years reviewing the disability claims process accuses the Veterans Affairs Department of exaggerating its success in reducing the claims backlog.
      Testifying Dec. 4 before a House subcommittee that is reviewing how the VA handles complex claims, Lauren Price noted that VA says it has reduced the claims backlog by 35 percent since March — but charged that some of that progress has been achieved without thoroughly and fairly reviewing applications for benefits.
      “The dirty secret is that a disproportionate number of complex claims are still awaiting adjudication or have been closed by awarding the veteran a nominal rating on one or more minor issues,” Price, a medically retired sailor..." http://www.armytimes.com/article/20131210/BENEFITS04/312100009

    6. VA challenged on progress in cutting claims backlog - Army Times 12/10/13

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      By Rick Maze Staff writer
      Dec. 10, 2013 - 10:09AM | armytimes.com
      Complex VA Claims
      "A team of veterans that spent five years reviewing the disability claims process accuses the Veterans Affairs Department of exaggerating its success in reducing the claims backlog.
      Testifying Dec. 4 before a House subcommittee that is reviewing how the VA handles complex claims, Lauren Price noted that VA says it has reduced the claims backlog by 35 percent since March — but charged that some of that progress has been achieved without thoroughly and fairly reviewing applications for benefits.
      “The dirty secret is that a disproportionate number of complex claims are still awaiting adjudication or have been closed by awarding the veteran a nominal rating on one or more minor issues,” Price, a medically retired sailor..." http://www.armytimes.com/article/20131210/BENEFITS04/312100009

    7. VA challenged on progress in cutting claims backlog - Army Times 12/10/13

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      By Rick Maze Staff writer
      Dec. 10, 2013 - 10:09AM | armytimes.com
      Complex VA Claims
      "A team of veterans that spent five years reviewing the disability claims process accuses the Veterans Affairs Department of exaggerating its success in reducing the claims backlog.
      Testifying Dec. 4 before a House subcommittee that is reviewing how the VA handles complex claims, Lauren Price noted that VA says it has reduced the claims backlog by 35 percent since March — but charged that some of that progress has been achieved without thoroughly and fairly reviewing applications for benefits.
      “The dirty secret is that a disproportionate number of complex claims are still awaiting adjudication or have been closed by awarding the veteran a nominal rating on one or more minor issues,” Price, a medically retired sailor..." http://www.armytimes.com/article/20131210/BENEFITS04/312100009

    8. VA challenged on progress in cutting claims backlog - Army Times 12/10/13

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      By Rick Maze Staff writer
      Dec. 10, 2013 - 10:09AM | armytimes.com
      Complex VA Claims
      "A team of veterans that spent five years reviewing the disability claims process accuses the Veterans Affairs Department of exaggerating its success in reducing the claims backlog.
      Testifying Dec. 4 before a House subcommittee that is reviewing how the VA handles complex claims, Lauren Price noted that VA says it has reduced the claims backlog by 35 percent since March — but charged that some of that progress has been achieved without thoroughly and fairly reviewing applications for benefits.
      “The dirty secret is that a disproportionate number of complex claims are still awaiting adjudication or have been closed by awarding the veteran a nominal rating on one or more minor issues,” Price, a medically retired sailor..."http://www.armytimes.com/article/20131210/BENEFITS04/312100009

    9. VA challenged on progress in cutting claims backlog - Army Times 12/10/13

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      By Rick Maze Staff writer
      Dec. 10, 2013 - 10:09AM | armytimes.com
      Complex VA Claims
      "A team of veterans that spent five years reviewing the disability claims process accuses the Veterans Affairs Department of exaggerating its success in reducing the claims backlog.
      Testifying Dec. 4 before a House subcommittee that is reviewing how the VA handles complex claims, Lauren Price noted that VA says it has reduced the claims backlog by 35 percent since March — but charged that some of that progress has been achieved without thoroughly and fairly reviewing applications for benefits.
      “The dirty secret is that a disproportionate number of complex claims are still awaiting adjudication or have been closed by awarding the veteran a nominal rating on one or more minor issues,” Price, a medically retired sailor..."http://www.armytimes.com/article/20131210/BENEFITS04/312100009

    10. VA challenged on progress in cutting claims backlog - Army Times 12/10/13

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      By Rick Maze Staff writer
      Dec. 10, 2013 - 10:09AM | armytimes.com
      Complex VA Claims
      "A team of veterans that spent five years reviewing the disability claims process accuses the Veterans Affairs Department of exaggerating its success in reducing the claims backlog.
      Testifying Dec. 4 before a House subcommittee that is reviewing how the VA handles complex claims, Lauren Price noted that VA says it has reduced the claims backlog by 35 percent since March — but charged that some of that progress has been achieved without thoroughly and fairly reviewing applications for benefits.
      “The dirty secret is that a disproportionate number of complex claims are still awaiting adjudication or have been closed by awarding the veteran a nominal rating on one or more minor issues,” Price, a medically retired sailor..."http://www.armytimes.com/article/20131210/BENEFITS04/312100009

    11. Reached 1,500 signatures
    12. 1000 signatures!!! Holy moly!

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      Words cannot express how proud I am to be a part of this! You supporters are making your voices heard! Keep up the great sharing!

    13. Reached 1,000 signatures
    14. The VA employees have the same opinions and concerns that we do!

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      I am really breathing fire tonight!! Jim Price got bored and went searching for the VA union. Yes, there is a UNION protecting a lot of what is happening. HOWEVER, after reading the report that AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees) submitted to Congress on MARCH 20, 2013...I am now very upset...far more than anything else that has been released about the VA.

      AFGE provided significant data and responses from the VA EMPLOYEES - most of which are IDENTICAL TO WHAT ARE IN THE PETITION I STARTED. Here it is for your consumption. ***Warning*** get the Zantac, a stiff drink and a fire extinguisher...you will need them all after you read WHAT THE EMPLOYEES ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT.
      http://veterans.house.gov/submission-for-the-record/the-american-federation-of-government-employees-0

    15. A Congressional Hearing in Pittsburg...still not a single real solution

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      Before a crowd of grieving family members in Pittsburgh, Veterans Affairs officials defended their patient safety and executive bonus programs Monday, dismissing assertions that the department doesn’t hold poor managers accountable for failure...Witnesses tearfully recounted family members’ deaths due unsanitary practices, surgical mistakes and poor supervision of VA employees.

      They also bristled at reports that numerous executives from those facilities later received bonuses — some totaling tens of thousands of dollars — for meeting performance metricsThe department is also reviewing its bonus award procedures.

      Lawmakers said they expect more.

      “We will simply not tolerate substandard care for our veterans under any circumstance,” said committee chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla. “When we hear about it, we will investigate it.”

      http://www.stripes.com/news/va-officials-defend-health-care-integrity-of-bonus-system-1.240079

    16. Once again, the VA blames the Veterans for the Backlog!

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      the VA is sticking to its two pronged approach to defending their actions in the backlog debacle;

      1-Blame the Veteran - it is the veteran at fault for filing claims with "mistakes" thereby causing the VA more work and causing the claim to be denied,

      2 - Here is another way the Veteran can lower the backlog...use a "approved claim preparer" - even though the VA freely admits that the preparers make mistakes and that the VA "cannot be held responsible for them".

      We Veterans, Citizens and Taxpayers MUST demand an end to this travesty. SIGN THE PETITION...SHARE THE PETITION...It is not only for Veterans to sign...Anyone over the age of 18 can sign!!!
      http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/u-s-asks-disabled-veterans-to-use-claims-preparers-1.5927097

      Newsday - The Long Island and New York City News Source

      Breaking News, opinions and blogs in business, sports, entertainment, travel, lifestyle, plus much more. Newsday.com is the leading news source for Long Island and NYC.

    17. U.S. asks disabled veterans to use claims preparers

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      August 20, 2013 by MARTIN C. EVANS / martin.evans@newsday.com
      The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is urging veterans with combat-related disabilities to seek the help of accredited claims preparers, rather than file benefits claims themselves directly to the VA.
      The VA says the practice will help cut its nationwide backlog of benefits claims. Veterans advocates, however, say the request by the VA only confirms how onerous the claims process has become. And the advocates worry that paperwork and filing delays will leave veterans seeking benefits for disabilities dependent on claims preparers, whose workloads and levels of competence often vary.
      "Most veterans by nature are independent, can-do people, so the idea of having to seek assistance filling out paperwork adds another layer of frustration," said Tireak Tulloch, a Long Island spokesman for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a national advocacy organization.

      Newsday - The Long Island and New York City News Source

      Breaking News, opinions and blogs in business, sports, entertainment, travel, lifestyle, plus much more. Newsday.com is the leading news source for Long Island and NYC.

    18. Lawmakers to hold hearing on bonuses for VA managers

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      Lawmakers will hold a field hearing in Pittsburgh next week to ask why local Veterans Affairs administrators received hefty bonuses in the wake of the preventable deaths of five patients.
      But what they really want to know is whether there is any accountability within the VA bureaucracy.
      The rare outside-the-beltway hearing follows a series of reports condemning how the department has handled merit pay and benefit assistance oversight. It also comes after months of pressure from veterans groups and members of Congress for the VA to take tougher action against poorly performing employees.
      The criticism that VA employees are rarely held accountable for failings cuts across numerous problems faced by the department in recent years, including the shrinking but still massive disability backlog. Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., said the goal is to expose “VA’s long and well-documented history of rewarding failure” and force a culture change within the organization.

    19. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs wants YOUR input!

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      Friends and supporters,

      The Petition has now close to 1000 signatures!! We are amazed and so proud that this is moving fast now. We cannot relent. We as veterans, taxpayers and concerned citizens must continue to push our governing officials to demand action. There will always be some crisis in another land to distract our leaders. There will always be a scandal to sway opinions back and forth across the isle.

      We are finishing up the evidence package to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. That will go by the end of the week along with a full copy of the Petition and the signatures obtained to date. We are including the comments made on the petition.

      Your legislators have the ability to fix this. Both the Senate and the House Committee's can work toward a REAL set of benchmarks that the VA must meet...not just an arbitrary self-imposed deadline that is too ephemeral.

    20. Reached 750 signatures
    21. Billions wasted on fruitless bid to create paperless vet health records

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      By Hannah Winston, News 21
      The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense spent at least $1.3 billion during the last four years trying unsuccessfully to develop a single electronic health-records system between the two departments — leaving veterans’ disability claims piling up in paper files, a News21 investigation shows.
      This does not include billions of dollars wasted during the last three decades, including $2 billion spent on a failed upgrade to the DOD’s existing electronic health-records system. For a veteran in the disability claims process, these records are critical: They include DOD service and health records needed by the VA to decide veterans’ disability ratings and the compensation they will receive for their injuries. Although Congress repeatedly has demanded an “integrated” and “interoperable” electronic health-records system, neither the DOD nor the VA is able to completely access the other’s electronic records. http://investigations.nbcnews.com/

    22. Unlike the VA, we WANT to know how long it has taken to process your claim!

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      Fellow veterans:

      We are seeking anecdotal statistics on claims processing timelines. Especially ones filed in the last five years. We do not want any of your private information.

      We are only interested in the Regional Office where your claim was filed and the timeline and particulars about your claims. We plan to utilize this data when speaking with the HVAC in October.

      Again - NO PERSONAL DATA...Please feel free to message it to the Admin or email me personally with it... navy1lf@yahoo.com
      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=551134434934697&set=pb.543649709016503.-2207520000.1377596674.&type=3&src=https%3A%2F%2Fsphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net%2Fhphotos-frc1%2F999855_551134434934697_2119942246_n.png&size=252%2C251

    23. THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS HAS RESPONDED

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      ****BIG NEWS****

      Last evening, we received a call from the House Committee on Veterans Affairs! The woman was calling on behalf of the Chairman and wanted to hear about the petition and the changes we propose. We spent about an hour on the phone, during which she said repeatedly, that the things that we are suggesting are all on the radar of the HVAC but that she believes that the specifics should come from us!!

      We are sending her a package of some of the evidentiary information we have regarding the VA's claims of "success" in clearing the backlog as well as the Petition substance for the HVAC to begin the formal review process.

      Additionally, she will be working to set up a schedule for us to meet with the HVAC to discuss this issue. It looks like it may be in October during the sub-committee for funding hearings!

      Needless to say, we are beyond excited. We can only stress how important it is that we push this petition for systemic changes even more.

    24. Ignored again...

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      We attempted to meet with the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Chairman, Jeff Miller (R-FL) to provide him with the proof he needs to show that the VA is fudging the numbers. We went through his "scheduling secretary" and asked for a 15 minute meeting. She read the request but did not even respond. This is disappointing but not deterring. This week, as Congress prepares to head back to Washington, we plan to release a press release containing the recordings of VA officials blatanly lieing, copies of records which show the VA is changing dates on actions, re-characterizing claims, and in some cases just closing them. All in an effort to make the backlog numbers go down. These actions are in violation of Federal law and are downright unacceptable. Yet we know we are not alone. There are tens of thousands of veterans who are being treated the same way or worse. Please feel free to send us your story or post it on here. Thanks again for your support!!!

    25. Blaming it on the computer...(or the dog ate my homework)

      Lauren Price
      Petition Organizer

      Secretary Shinseki has blamed the backlog on the new computer system. So does EVERY employee you speak with at the VA, no matter what department. Unfortunatley, the Pentagon is happily throwing the Secretary under the bus. According to Defense Secretary Hagel, the new computer system has no impact on the VA and is NOT the cause of the backlog. Secretary Shinseki will continue to ignore all the clamoring about backlogs, bonus' (how the hell do FEDERAL EMPLOYEES GET BONUS') and incompetence until one of two things happens. Either he has an epiphany in the middle of the night about how WRONG on all levels this behavior is, or he is forced to resign. It is up to we taxpayers and veterans to help him make that choice.

      http://triblive.com/usworld/nation/4068800-74/pentagon-system-backlog#axzz2aiMruXZC

      Senators want VA backlog erased

      By The Associated Press Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 8:00 p.m.

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Kimberlee McDermott SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
      • 4 days ago

      Because my Veteran Husband is dying from Gulf War Illness and the V.A. is denying him medical care and disability/pension compensation. They have mishandled every single aspect of our claim.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Catrina Sanders RICHMOND, VA
      • 8 days ago

      I am a Desert Storm/Shield Veteran.........We are all treated like the enemy and not as if we fought for this country

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Colleen Talbot WYNANTSKILL, NY
      • 13 days ago

      My son is currently going through a medical discharge from the US Army after serving for almost 7 years, serving in Afghanistan and South Korea. He sustained a neck injury (bulging cervical disks) from his duties as a paratrooper which the Army gave him pain killers to mask the damage instead of treating him at the time of the injury. This resulted in severe damage to his neck now requiring spinal fusion surgery to alleviate the pain and hopefully allow him the ability to once again pick his 3 year old daughter up and hold her in his arms. Now the VA is telling him it may be 3 months or more before he sees his disability benefits to be able to provide for his family. This is just our story but many of our veterans are in the same situation and we should be ashamed of ourselves as a nation that we would allow any of this to happen to our soldiers and military service people.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Craig Cozze NAZARETH, PA
      • 21 days ago

      I am a vet that has been waiting for an appeal to change from pending for over two years now.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • carmelita Swain TACOMA, WA
      • 23 days ago

      I am a veteran

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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