Staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs' Oakland office regularly made incorrect decisions when evaluating disability claims and failed to inform veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan that they are entitled to free mental health care, according to a report released today [PDF] by the agency’s inspector general.
The report also found that the office, which handles all disability claims for veterans who live from Bakersfield to the Oregon border, had failed to close claims that, at the time of an inspection last December, had languished for up to eight and a half years.
“Processing delays occurred because of unclear guidance,” the inspector general wrote. “As a result, veterans did not receive timely benefit payments.”
The inspector general also found several instances of veterans' mail being misplaced, which the report said further contributed to delays and mistakes in deciding disability claims.