Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village), along with Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert), called for the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee to hold a hearing about allegations of mishandling of veterans’ claims at the Veterans Benefits Administration Los Angeles Regional Office (LA VARO).
“I am troubled by new allegations that the Los Angeles Regional Office mishandled veterans’ claims documentation,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “I have asked for a hearing so that the Committee can get to the bottom of these allegations and ensure veterans’ benefits claims are handled and processed in a timely and appropriate manner.”
Brownley learned that the VA Office of Inspector General (VAOIG) has substantiated an allegation that veterans’ paperwork was inappropriately discarded, and that the VAOIG had reason to believe that documents may have been shredded over some period of time at the LA VARO.
The VAOIG is working on two reports, which are expected to be completed and released in August. The first report is expected to highlight issues with leadership, performance, quality, and training at the LA VARO. The second report is expected to address the improper shredding of documents by the LA VARO.
The LA VARO is responsible for processing disability claims, pensions, and other benefits for veterans in Southern California. LA VARO handles benefits for 706,000 veterans in seven counties: Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Kern counties.
Congresswoman Brownley has reached out to VA Secretary Robert McDonald requesting his assistance to address these serious allegations.