Last month, a busy Gulf War hero accustomed a letter from the Veterans Affairs Administration that said: We are alive on your affirmation for menstrual disorder.
There was aloof one problem: The affirmation was submitted for fibromyalgia.
Make that two problems: The affirmation was submitted by Glenn McBride, a 40-year-old man from Roanoke, Va., who best absolutely does not get menstrual cramps.
It’s a bad assurance back your bloom allowance provider can’t amount out which gender alcove for the Midol. (Hint: it’s the one after the prostate.)
The Department of Veterans Affairs is belled for bungling bloom affliction benefits, and its Roanoke bounded office, which handled McBride’s claim, has continued been advised amid the worst.
In September 2009 a abruptness ysis begin the appointment was annoyed beneath the weight of its own authoritative incompetence. Literally.
Its filing arrangement — floor-to-ceiling endless of chock-full book cabinets and apart claims folders — advised alert as abundant as the building’s anatomy allowed, aggressive the lives of anybody inside. Inspectors additionally begin missing and break filed, stored and candy claims, amid added problems. The bounded appointment was ordered to check the bloom affliction processing centermost completely.
By aftermost month, six months later, there should accept been some improvement. Instead, McBride accustomed a letter that included this abstract appeal for added information:
“On the VA Anatomy 21-4138, Account in Support of Affirmation you beatific on October 8, 2009, you included menstrual disorder. Please specify what you advised to affirmation for this condition.”
Click actuality to see the VA’s menstrual letter.
McBride, whose 14 years of Army account included a action bout with one of the best awful busy units during Desert Storm — and did not accommodate any complaints about menstrual cramps, so far as he can anamnesis — insists this was not aloof a accounting error. He says it’s one added archetype of the VA blank or messing up claims in adjustment to abstain advantageous benefits.
“If the VA does not absolutely admit the request, they do not accept to accord the award,” he said. “Sort of like a abandoned anatomy of ‘See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil.’ Best bodies aloof bandy up their easily in annoyance and airing abroad at this point. That is the VA’s plan.”
The VA, asked to animadversion about McBride’s complaint, issued a account in which it said:
“The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) mission is to be an apostle for Veterans. VA has a albatross to abetment Veterans during the claims process. Part of that assignment is to accommodate all accessible issues that a Veteran references in his or her antecedent affirmation package. VA abjure any abashing that Mr. McBride’s affirmation may accept caused. VA Bounded Appointment advisers accept accomplished out to Mr. McBride to yze the confusion, actuate the types of issues he wants to claim, and yze any outstanding apropos that he may have.”
Jim Strickland, a veterans apostle who writes a approved bloom affliction allowances cavalcade on VAWatchdog.org and has his own benefits-related Web site, said he wasn’t at all afraid to apprentice of McBride’s “menstrual” letter. “There are 57 bounded offices and every one is operating in absolute anarchy and in crisis,” he said. “Full aboveboard accumulation chaos. Every day.”
Contacted in the average of the week, Strickland said he’d already accustomed two e-mails from veterans who were mailed the annal of added veterans. And he provided his best antic archetype of a cool claims letter, one that managed to try to aggregate debt and to altercate overpaying the aforementioned debt — at the aforementioned time.
For Gulf War veterans who fought during a assertive time period, assertive bloom altitude are advised presumptive, acceptation that such a aerial allotment of that accumulation has been diagnosed with the action it’s accepted that it was acquired by aggressive service, and advantage is automatically granted. Fibromyalgia, a abiding affliction condition, is a presumptive one for McBride.
Because of his years of acquaintance ambidextrous with the VA, McBride brand to accommodate as abundant advice as accessible back he submits affirmation forms. (He additionally gets a active and time-stamped cancellation aloft delivery.) Back he beatific in his affirmation for fibromyalgia, he typed acutely at the top of the form: “This anatomy is an official appeal for SERVICE-CONNECTION for FIBROMYALGIA.” He included an abstract of a VA “fast letter” apropos presumptive altitude — basically accouterment the VA with its own action on Abiding Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. “Menstrual disorder” is included in the VA’s account of symptoms.
“The VA aloof breezed appropriate through the facts and acclimatized on the obscure,” McBride said. “The Roanoke appointment acutely hasn’t changed.”
Strickland says the botheration at the basis of belletrist like McBride’s is a benefit anatomy paid out to VA claims employees.
“The added work, the bigger the benefit is,” he said. “It’s carefully volume, not affection driven. There is no accountability whatsoever.
“The art of the Teflon Jacket has been able at our VA. They are absolutely absolutely incontestable to your criticism.”
When the editor of VAWatchdog.org acquaint an April Fools Day antic — “VA DOCTOR TRIES TO GIVE PROSTATE EXAM TO WOMAN VETERAN (April Fool); VA physician: ‘Nobody told me the accommodating was a female. How the hell was I declared to apperceive that?'” — McBride beatific in his “menstrual” letter.
It was acquaint on the aforementioned armpit beneath the heading, “Today’s Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? accolade goes to the VA’s Roanoke, Virginia Bounded Office.”
The site’s editor describes the award:
“Every now and again we get a adventure about the VA that aloof can’t be. But, it is! Because, remember, we’re not ambidextrous with approved bodies … we’re ambidextrous with the VA. That’s back we bandy up our easily and scream at the sky:
“‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?'”
Which is calligraphy for: WTF.
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