Veterans are some of the most respected and honored people in the country. However, they don’t necessarily receive the care and respect they deserve when it comes to disability benefits. In many cases, veterans have suffered a serious injury or illness while in the military and have the expectation that they can come home and easily access the benefits they have been promised. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily happen.
In fact, veterans can face some very upsetting challenges when they attempt to apply for benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Long wait times for approvals, complicated application processes, frequent denials and inadequate resources can all make it extremely difficult for veterans to get the benefits they greatly need. And sadly, the situation doesn’t seem to be getting better, as indicated by a recent lawsuit.
According to reports, several vets have filed a lawsuit against the VA citing the agency’s repeated acts of neglect and violations related to their medical records.
When a veteran submits an application for benefits, he or she must include extensive documentation related to their condition, including medical records, in order for the VA to make a determination on their claim.
However, the recent lawsuit states that the VA has held on to these medical records despite repeated requests by the vets that the medical records be returned to them. The fact that the VA has kept these records means that the veterans do not have them to apply for additional benefits that may be available to them.
The VA handbook states that such requests are to be acknowledged within 10 business days if they will not be able to send the requested documents right away. But for at least the seven veterans involved in this case, those 10 days came and went long ago. In fact, apparently they have been waiting for their records since 2013.
Situations like this make an already difficult situation even more frustrating for veterans, and unfortunately they may not be isolated incidents. There are a number of issues that can come up in the process of seeking veterans’ benefits, but this shouldn’t dissuade someone from pursuing them. With some support, advice and the experience of an attorney, veterans and their families can work to avoid or minimize these types of complications and protect their rights.
Source: GovExec.com, “Vets Sue VA Over Access to Medical Records,” Kellie Lunney, April 21, 2015