Philadelphia VA mishandled veterans’ claims, inspectors say

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ inspector general has found evidence that a VA office in Philadelphia has been cooking the books.

    Inspectors said they discovered that government employees at the Philadelphia Regional Benefit Office were mislabeling old benefit claims to make them look as if they were new. They also said mail bins at the office were stuffed with benefit claims dating back to 2011.

    Tyrone Beach, who helps veterans apply for benefits at the independent nonprofit Veterans Multi-Service Center, said the workers’ alleged actions were “wrong.” However, he also said he knows firsthand that the VA is taking steps to address its backlog, such as moving print records online.

    “That streamlines the process,” he said, “makes it faster and more efficient.”

    According to the inspector general, problems at the Philadelphia office arose when workers misused a memo saying they could stamp claims they hadn’t noticed before with the date they found them. 

    In a statement, the VA said it is working to address the issues at the city office and has suspended the memo.

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