In November, media investigators at Pro Publica and the Seattle Times found that the Veterans Benefits Administration denied some claims because service members’ units had lost or inaccurately catalogued their field records, making it impossible to prove they had deployed or suffered a service-related medical condition.
And on July 3, a person walking in the woods behind the records repository in St. Louis found a dumped cache of 250 military records. A follow-on investigation found they’d been unloaded by a temporary employee who was supposed to have filed them.
“There should be no way that the VBA should be able to deny their claims based on lack of military records,” said Michael Viterna, president of the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates.
“Veterans and their families should not be burdened with the responsibility of recreating lost files, providing multiple copies of records that once were in DoD or VA’s possession,” McNerney said.