A technicality is preventing nearly 30,000 post-9/11 combat veterans from receiving VA health benefits. A VA whistleblower brought attention to the technicality over three months ago and the issue continues to effect these military veterans who have been waiting for years for their health benefits.
Scott Davis, a VA program specialist, is the whistleblower who first reported the problem this summer. At that time, 35,000 combat veterans were on the pending list and half of those post-9/11 combat veterans had waited five years or more to be enrolled.
Are you a veteran who believes you might affected by this issue with your VA health benefits? If so, you are asked to call 877-222-8387 or visit the VA's Health Benefits page for more information.
What is causing the problem for these veterans?
According to military news on Stars and Stripes, "At issue is an optional means test, which the veterans in question did not fill out. The free care they are guaranteed by a 2008 law does not require them to fill out the means test, but without that information, their applications are automatically placed into "pending" status."
While the Department of Veterans Affairs has apologized for the issue, VA Secretary Bob McDonald continues to say that neither nor the VA has the authority to change a veterans enrollment status and automatically enroll these post-9/11 combat veterans.
That assertion by McDonald is refuted by Scott Davis who says the VA has automatically enrolled veterans in the past.
Why is the VA reluctant to change these veterans' status and automatically enroll them now?
Davis said "(the) VA's reluctance to automatically enroll the veterans could be about potentially being responsible for tens of millions of dollars in compensation owed to veterans for the delayed benefits. VA officials would not comment on what kind of compensation, if any, veterans might be owed."
"Those combat veterans are clearly applying for health care; we have always just enrolled the people without asking questions," he said. McDonald "has a moral, legal and ethical responsibility to enroll these veterans."
Some lawmakers in Washington aren't buying VA Secretary Bob McDonald's assertions and excuses either.
"The law hasn't required a means test from recent combat veterans since 2008, yet VA still hasn't come up with an efficient way to enroll these veterans in its health care system without one," House Committee on Veterans Affairs Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller said in a statement. "This is either blatant incompetence or cold-hearted indifference."
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