Veterans' claims found in ex-employee's storage unit
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has requested a criminal investigation after Virginia's Department of Veterans Services (DVS) discovered documents, including veterans' claims, that may have been in a former worker's storage unit for years.
The documents discovered last week were taken to the McGuire VA Medical Center and officials are in the process of reviewing them and contacting impacted veterans to make sure their claims have been properly filed.
Officials do not yet know the exact number of claims, but said the majority appear to be dated between 2011 and mid-2015.
"We are in the process of reviewing documents and determining the status of all claims as quickly as we are able," John Newby, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, said. "We are committed to providing additional information to impacted veterans and to the public as we determine the full scope of the situation and how many veterans may be affected."
The former employee, who worked at DVS from January 2012 until August 25, 2015, was terminated after officials discovered unfiled claims in their office.
Those claims were reviewed, and DVS contacted affected veterans to alert them and provide assistance. DVS terminated the employee at that time and has since assigned
The location now has a new office manager and officials stressed all the claims were reviewed and impacted veterans were contacted.
Officials urged veterans who filed a claim at DVS's benefit office located at McGuire and think they may been affected to contact DVS at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 804-786-0286.
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Frequently Asked Questions from the Virginia Department of Veterans Services
Q: I am a veteran who filed a claim with the DVS benefits office at the McGuire VAMC. Am I impacted?
A: We don't yet know. Our technical experts are reviewing all the materials returned to the Commonwealth to determine the number of impacted veterans, their identities and the status of their claims. This will take a number of weeks to complete. If your claims information is in the materials, you will be contacted shortly.
Q: Were all claims at McGuire's benefits office impacted?
A: No. At this time, we believe only claims filed by one particular former DVS employee.
Q: What is the timeframe?
A: The investigation to date indicates that the recovered documents date from late 2011 through June-2015.
Q: Did the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ("the VA") or the McGuire VA Medical Center have anything to do with this?
A: No. DVS employees are provided space at the McGuire VA Medical Center to assist veterans, but neither the VA nor its McGuire VA Medical Center are involved in this incident. Specifically, no VA personnel were involved with the collection or retention of the discovered documents.
Q: Is there anything I can do now to see whether I've been impacted?
A: Yes. We encourage all veterans to either visit eBenefits (www.ebenefits.va.gov), or visit one of DVS's 26 Benefits Offices located throughout the Commonwealth. Trained representatives can check on the status of your claim or benefit. Please consult our webpage http://www.dvs.virginia.gov/benefits/ for the Benefits Office nearest to you.