As we mentioned briefly in the last month, the U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee is con¬cerned about remarks made by Allison Hickey, Under Secretary for Benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"Of course we don't dispute that the VA needs to change the way it does business in order to reduce — and eventually eliminate — the backlog of disability claims," said U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee Executive Director Gerald B. Johnson. "But adding another, complicated hurdle for a disabled, injured, or mentally-ill veteran is not the way to go about that change."
"Particularly concerning to me is the fact that there are very few officially sanctioned 'preparers' across the entire nation," said Legislative Director Sean Ferritor, "Yet the VA is go¬ing to recommend veterans seek¬ing disability benefits use them. It is a recipe for disaster.
"There are simply too many examples nationwide of claims not being filed properly by third party preparers who the VA does not directly employ and who an¬swer to no one at the VA," said Ferritor.
"Even when well-intentioned, if these supposed experts make a mistake," said Johnson, "It is our veterans who will suffer yet again by a thousand paper cuts with delays of critical treatment or denials of service that can put a vet and family at-risk of finan¬cial ruin."
Copies of the entire letter are available upon request. Call the office at (571) 425-4159.