Department of Veterans Affairs Admits More Claims Processing Issues
If you tried to add or remove dependents from your VA records since 2011, you may need to contact the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure your updates were actually recorded in the system.
VA Admits Problems With Updating Dependents In Its System
The VA has issued another apology for failure to process claims. This time, the VA failed to process some 56 thousand requests to add or remove dependents from VA records using standard VA forms.
This particular case of VA processing failure dates back to 2011, according to Military.com.
This news comes on the heels of reports that thousands of veterans had claims improperly delayed as far back as 2018 in an unrelated case. In that circumstance, the VA “deeply” apologized to roughly 30 thousand veterans with unprocessed claims with promises of back pay.
Who Was Affected? The Numbers
Multiple sources report more than 500 thousand veterans attempted to notify the Department of Veterans Affairs a dependent status update using the required VA Form 686c or VA Form 21-674.
These attempts were made via VA.gov, eBenefits, or by other means since 2011. Of the 500 thousand attempts, the Department of Veterans Affairs has concerns about approximately 56 thousand updates to ensure the corrections were actually made.
Unprocessed VA Claims As Old As 2011
The Department of Veterans Affairs admitted to the delays after researching a separate claims delay issue related to a technical glitch roughly 900 veterans encountered while trying to file appeals on Pact Act claims. The Department of Veterans Affairs reviewed the online appeals system after the discovery.
What The VA Didn’t Catch The First Time Around
The original glitch was discovered and corrected. But another problem, unprocessed dependent updates, was uncovered. Or should we say, rediscovered? The agency first began investigating the dependent records issue in August 2021, but the VA’s efforts didn’t go far enough.
According to Military.com, when the VA tried to fix the technical glitch mentioned above, a VA worker stumbled across indications that 56,000 veterans who tried to add or remove dependents from the VA rolls, “did not have those claims successfully processed by VA.gov.” Some of these cases date as far back as 2011.
In the first week of September 2023, the Department of Veterans Affairs began notifying affected veterans of the problem, similar to the notification letters alerting some 30 thousand veterans of claim delays dating back to 2018. The dependent update bug is reported being addressed with possible adjustments to benefits payments coming for those who qualify.
According to the VA, more than 574,000 veterans filed a dependent status update — VA Form 686c or VA Form 21-674 — through the VA.gov or eBenefits website or elsewhere since 2011. The VA is investigating 56,000 of those to ensure proper adjustments were made.
Some want to know how many times can the Department of Veterans Affairs “deeply apologize” to veterans for not processing VA claims and related paperwork. One of the major problems with this level of failure to update VA records? Veterans who are overpaid for benefits they should not have received.
If you tried to remove a dependent from your VA records and the update did not go through, technically speaking, you would be liable to repay the VA for any overpayment.
In this particular case, the VA chooses to waive collection of overpayment for “excess benefits,” which would not have occurred in the first place if the VA’s technical issues didn’t exist.
The VA began an effort to contact all veterans affected by such technical issues. If you have not received written communication from the Department of Veterans Affairs, contact them to learn more about how these technical issues may have affected your benefits. Call the VA at 1-800-827-1000.
According to Military.com, “VA officials said they have taken steps to prevent additional issues with their information technology systems, beginning with a full review of VA.gov processing systems, looking at every place veterans submit applications and claims.”
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.