Georgia veterans face disability claim delays

Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 9:10 AM
Last updated 7:15 PM
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ATLANTA — Georgia veterans filing disability claims often face longer delays than their counterparts in other states.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Atlanta’s U.S. Veterans Affairs office has almost 21,000 claims that have been pending for longer than 125. That’s the third highest total among 56 veterans benefits offices around the country. Only offices in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Winston-Salem, N.C. have more.

The Atlanta office also has 14,339 appeals pending, which ranks fourth highest in the country.

VA officials note that Atlanta has one of the largest regional offices in the country. The agency estimates that Georgia is home to 776,205 veterans, the eighth largest veteran population of any state.

The agency has announced a goal of eliminating backlogs across the country by 2015.

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soapy_725
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soapy_725 11/29/13 - 09:30 am
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Its Georgia folks. Look around. You are at the gates of hell.
Unpublished

Only South Carolina and Mississippi can outdo us.

dichotomy
37606
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dichotomy 11/29/13 - 02:38 pm
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The Atlanta Regional Office

The Atlanta Regional Office has had the "goal" of reducing backlogs for about 20 years now. They have NEVER reduced their backlog. The reason is that they spend most of their time shuffling paperwork to DENY claims instead of approving claims. They force veterans to submit additional reams of paperwork and go through 2 or 3 appeals and sometimes more in order to get a claim approved. There are other regional offices in other states that actually assist veterans in filing successful claims but Atlanta is not, and never has been one of them. I meet veterans from all over the country and I am amazed that in some states you can almost just walk through the door and mention combat zone service and get 100% disability and the Atlanta regional office fights you tooth and nail on every claim...even when the diagnosis comes from their own VA doctors and it's for a presumptive service connected disease.

They need to clean house at the Atlanta Regional VA and move that staff in total over to the Social Security SSI office. There is plenty of fraudulent SSI claims they can put their "DENIED" experience to work on there.

deestafford
32175
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deestafford 11/29/13 - 11:06 pm
2
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When I submitted my VA claim in Jan '13 I was told by the Purple

Heart Resources Office at the Atlanta VA that it would be 12-18 months. About six months later I got a notice from the VA saying it would be 10-14 months. It is for a cut and dried claim that is combat related documented by one simple biopsy that has been done by Eisenhower Army Hospital.

They are just overloaded and don't know how to handle the job. This is nothing new. The VA has had poor leadership for years and it has not got any better. They spend money on technology that is outdated before they open the box it comes in. They need to go to the private businesses for expetise on how to solve their problems.

KARMA2013
6
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KARMA2013 11/29/13 - 11:33 pm
1
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Karma

Some folks tend to forget that "what goes around comes around.
People have lost their homes, cars, and families all while the VA doctors and administrators get paid hundreds of thousands a year.

This grateful nation has five billion dollars to give to Afganistan, but has a problem taking care of vets.

Screwed my whole life up when I joined the Army. now, I don't know my family, and don't have any damn friends. I can't get a decent job; I'm "all jacked up". The Army that I use to love ruined my life.

KARMA2013
6
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KARMA2013 11/29/13 - 11:58 pm
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Atlanta Regional VA

I am predicting 500,000 plus appeals by third quarter 2014. Many of the appeals will be denied, but the doctors, lawyers, and VA employees will get paid. They get paid very well too.

The poor soldiers that gave so much get a hard time. and a bunch of broken promises.

deestafford
32175
Points
deestafford 11/30/13 - 06:33 am
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What would be interesting and beneficial is for the Chronicle

to do an anatomy of a VA claim submitted here in Augusta at the VA Hospital on Wrightsboro Road. I don't mean just talk to some honcho and let them tell the process. I mean physically go to the desks of each person who handles the claim here and get how they do their job, how long it takes, and how they send the claim to Atlanta and so forth. Then send the reporter to Atlanta and physically follow a claim through each person there with time tables and procedures. What happens if a claim needs more information, denied etc? Don't just get a briefing from a honcho about how the system works or is supposed to work.

I saw a picture of a claims office in some VA facility and there was a fairly large room with cardboard boxes full of claims covering the floor and stacked by the dozens waist high.

Hopefully, the reporter assigned this task has some empty wall space because they would need it to put plaques on for the awards they get not only from the AC but other outlets for doing something that I'm not sure has ever been done before.

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