Some might remember the last tatic the VA used in their fight not to pay benefits claims: the second signature required to approve a PTSD claim. (Although no second signature was required if they denied your claim!)
Since that process was brought to light and supposedly scrapped by the VA they had to develop a new scheme to defraud veterans. Now multiple reviews are required against claims that are 8 years old (or older) or claims which if paid would result in a lump payment of over $250,000.
Isn't it ironic that if the VA did its job correctly there wouldn't be any claims that old or that would require a lump sum payout of $250,000. (Can someone remind me of why top VA personnel got bonuses of up to $33,000?)
However, it apparently wasn't sufficient to make these vets wait 8 years for a VA Regional Office to award the claim but now the claim will have to have to be signed off on another 3 times.
Here's a little look at the new scam:
The Fast Letter actually proscribes three levels of review for these EEDs and awards over $250,000. First, the rating officer makes a decision. If the decision involves a grant of an effective date 'retroactive eight or more years"'or results in a lump-sum payment of $250,000 or more, then it will be reviewed by the 'Post-Determination team' at the RO. Then it will be reviewed by the RO's Veterans Service Center Manager and finally by the C&P Service in Washington. At any stage of the review process the original decision could be changed.(http://www.vawatchdog.org/07/nf07/nfOCT07/nf101307-1.htm)
So if the first rater find's that he/she does have a conscious after all, and finally approves the claim then the VA now has 3 more chances to shoot the claim down. This is the moral equivalent of a DA taking someone to court multiple times until they get the verdict they like.
Can someone please tell me how anyone can do this and still be able to sleep at night?
If there are claims over 8 years old - shouldn't those be the claims that are "fast tracked" instead of creating even further delays?
Oh, wait a minute that's right. If a veteran dies before the claim is resolved the spouse is only entitled to 2 years worth of payments owed to the deceased vet (if he/she qualifies). That's a saving's to the VA of roughly $180,000 per dead vet. You can bet the bean counters in Washington D.C. must be partying over this. They finally discovered the "efficiencies" that they claimed would lower the cost to the government when creating the 2006 VA budget.
Considering Admiral Cooper testified before Congress that most of the 400,000+ claims backlog was not "new" claims that means most are in some stage of the appeals process.
So the question becomes; how many of these 400,000 cases will get automatically thrown into this ungodly process and how many more vets will die while waiting?