If ever there was an issue that should unite all Americans, it’s taking care of our veterans. After a decade and a half of warfare, plenty of our vets need the help of the one agency that exists just to help them out, the Veteran’s Administration. However, after a scandal rocked the VA last year, many veterans were concerned about whether or not they could trust the agency.
VA head Scott Pelley claimed that the organization was about to be cleaned up back in June. Well, he’s still got some work to do apparently.
A government watchdog agency did a surprise inspection at the Los Angeles VA offices and found the mail being shredded instead of being opened and properly handled.
The VA’s Office of Inspector General said it launched an “unannounced inspection” of the Los Angeles office after hearing allegations that the VA staff there was shredding mail related to veterans’ disability compensation claims. Though the OIG said it can’t measure how often this might have happened, it did say it found some examples of mail lined up for the shredder that instead should have been opened and read.
“Although we cannot quantify or identify claims-related documents that the VARO may have shredded prior to our review, we found nine claims-related documents that VARO staff incorrectly placed in personal shred bins for non-claims related documents,” the OIG reported. “Eight of the nine documents had the potential to affect veterans’ benefits and one had no effect on the veteran’s benefits.”
The OIG said the placement of these letters in “shred bins” means that they were able to bypass the first level of control, which requires letters to be reviewed before they are shredded.
Thus far, we have been unable to determine if the VA has a magic portal technology that just looks an awful lot like a shredder but actually routes these letters to their proper destination in an instant. We’re also not holding our breath on that being the case either.
While Pelley may be working hard to fix his troubled agency, it looks like a good place to start is with a memo saying, “Don’t shred mail!”
Photo Credit: veterans.house.gov