Another veterans scandal hit the Obama administration Wednesday with the emergence of an internal Veterans Affairs memo that allowed bureaucrats to cook their books and assert they were answering diligently President Obama’s call to reduce the backlog of veterans’ benefits claims.
The memo was known inside the VA as “Fast Letter 13-10,” and a government watchdog said Wednesday this “flawed” guidance from VA headquarters in Washington deliberately resulted in making the agency appear it was delivering services and benefits to veterans faster than it really was.
The VA inspector general examined the impact of the memo, issued in May 2013, on the Philadelphia VA office — one of the largest in the nation, serving more than 825,000 veterans and their families in three states. Investigators found that VA managers, using “Fast Letter 13-10” as their justification, ordered workers to put the current date on benefits claims that were sometimes more than a year old, thereby “eliminating” part of the highly publicized backlog with the stroke of a pen or time stamp.
The inspector general said it was just the sort of fiction that VA headquarters sought.