Washington, DC – Both California Senators, and 32 members of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation, sent a letter today calling on Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki to immediately address serious delays and troubling veterans claims processing problems at VA Regional Offices (VAROs) in California. In the letter they refer to recent VA Office of the Inspector General (IG) reports, telling Secretary Shinseki:
"Unfortunately, it is clear that high error rates are a serious problem in California VAROs, and that these problems are most often due to ineffective oversight by management and incorrect interpretation of VA guidelines by staff."
The investigation revealed 97% of the disability claims reviewed by the IG in the Los Angeles VARO were incorrectly processed. Similarly, 77% of the disability claims in the San Diego VARO and over half of those at the Oakland VARO reviewed by the IG were incorrectly processed. Just as troubling, the investigation revealed about half of the traumatic brain injury case evaluations at all three facilities reviewed by the IG were processed incorrectly. California VAROs may also have deprived Gulf War Veterans of their opportunity to receive mental health treatments from the VA.
The two Senators and 32 Representatives told Secretary Shinseki "Given the severity of the situation faced by California veterans waiting to receive their benefits, we ask that you provide us the following:
Click here to link to the letter, which was signed by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and the following Representatives (in alphabetical order): Joe Baca, Karen Bass, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, Lois Capps, Dennis Cardoza, Judy Chu, Jim Costa, Susan Davis, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Bob Filner, John Garamendi, Janice Hahn, Mike Honda, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Doris Matsui, Jerry McNerney, George Miller, Grace Napolitano, Laura Richardson, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, Adam Schiff, Jackie Speier, Pete Stark, Mike Thompson, Maxine Waters, Henry Waxman, Lynn Woolsey