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Posted at 11:13 AM on Friday, November 21, 2008 by post7211
WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) [Monday] announced special procedures for processing claims from veterans, family members, and survivors whose applications for financial benefits from VA may have been mishandled by VA personnel.
These special procedures come after an audit by VA's Inspector General found documents waiting to be shredded at some of VA's regional offices that, if disposed of, could have affected the financial benefits awarded to veterans and survivors.
"I am deeply concerned that improper actions by a few VA employees could have caused any veterans to receive less than their full entitlement to benefits earned by their service to our nation," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake.
"In rectifying this unacceptable lapse, VA will be guided by two principles -- full accountability for VA staff and ensuring veterans receive the benefit of the doubt if receipt of a document by VA is in question," he added.
VA worked with the six largest veterans service organizations in developing these special new procedures. The procedures will assist veterans and survivors in establishing that an application or another document was previously submitted to VA, but was not properly acted upon by VA and was not retained in the veteran's records.
The special procedures cover missing documents submitted by a veteran or other applicant for VA benefits during the 18-month period between April 14, 2007 and October 14, 2008.VA will process any missing applications or evidence resubmitted under these special procedures as if the document had been originally submitted on the date identified by the claimant.