Santa Fe New Mexican: Report finds processing errors in veterans’ disability, injury claims

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., wants the Department of Veterans Affairs to quickly deal with the findings of an audit that uncovered numerous errors in services at the Albuquerque Veterans Affairs Regional Office.

Among other points, the report released last month by the VA’s Inspector General Office of Audits and Evaluations, said staff at the regional office didn’t correctly process 24 out of 58 — or 40 percent — of disability claims reviewed, leading to about 170 improper payments to seven veterans totaling $134,918.

In addition, the Albuquerque office incorrectly processed 10 out of 28 traumatic brain-injury claims due to a misinterpretation of VA policy. And 13 of 30 temporary 100-percent disability evaluations were inaccurate because staff didn’t set up a process to request future re-examinations of those veterans.

“The claims processing crisis within the VA has been a great disservice to our veterans returning home after over a decade of war,” Udall wrote in a Sept. 3 letter to VA Under Secretary for Health Robert Petzel. “… reports such as this do not increase confidence that the VA is ready to turn a corner on the issue.”

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