In August the VA publicly acknowledged that about 32,000 disability claims had been lost for several months or even years because of “technical glitches” in its computer system. Then in early September VA officials disclosed that 57,000 more Veterans were affected by additional computer system problems. The lost cases date back to 2011 and involve Veterans who tried to add or remove dependents to their existing disability claims which could have increased or decreased their monthly benefit payments. Those claims were not successfully processed by VA.gov.
VA officials say that “individuals whose cases were delayed by the mistakes will have their cases backdated to the dates when processing should have begun so that “no Veterans are negatively impacted by our error.”
In a statement VA press secretary Terrence Hayes pledged that “[w]e are taking immediate action to resolve these issues, prevent them from happening again in the future, and contact all those impacted by them, While these issues were limited to a small percentage of Veterans, it’s unacceptable for even one Veteran to be delayed due to technological issues. We will make sure that no Veteran’s benefits or appeals are negatively impacted by our errors. We deeply apologize to all impacted Veterans, and we will ensure that they get the benefits and appeals decisions that they deserve.”
These technical issues come after the VA extended its PACT Act deadline in August after experiencing separate technical difficulties with VA.gov. Those issues—resulting from a last-minute increase in Veterans filing for their PACT Act benefits—have since been resolved. These ongoing computer issues have raised concerns about the reliability of the VA’s system among Veterans, their advocates, and lawmakers.
In a statement, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Bost, (R-IL) said “This is especially disturbing given the fact that the American taxpayers have invested billions of dollars in VA’s IT systems to ensure mistakes like this never happen, and to make sure we are providing Veterans and their families with the level of service they have earned,” he said. “But it’s clear to me that VA hasn’t been doing that.”