Veteranclaims’s Blog

August 17, 2010

Veterans’ Files Shredded, VFW Worker Fired

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — veteranclaims @ 2:07 am

Full Article at:
VFW worker shredded files, but responsibility for loss remains uncertain

By Alex Morrell of the Journal Sentinel

Aug. 15, 2010

George Wincapaw thought he was getting some strange requests from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The 63-year-old Vietnam War veteran had had several heart attacks since leaving the Navy, submitting enough paperwork on them to amass a two-volume file at the Veterans Benefits Administration office. But in response to his most recent claim, submitted earlier this year, the office was requesting copies of medical records Wincapaw had already submitted.

Curious, he traveled from his home in Oconomowoc to the VA regional offices in Milwaukee to look at his medical file. What he found shocked him.

He wasn’t providing duplicates. Dozens of his medical records were missing.

Then the public contact representative with whom he was reviewing his file broke the news: An employee had been fired from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Wincapaw’s representative agency, for destroying veterans’ records.

An official with the state VFW, which handles thousands of such cases a year, told Public Investigator the employee had shredded nearly all its veterans files – no one knows how many – after making a unilateral decision to go “paperless.”

“I would never have found out myself other than by accident,” said Wincapaw, who had missing from his file more than 100 pages of records related to his heart condition and pending benefit claims.

But determining responsibility wasn’t clear-cut, and for Wincapaw finding answers became an exercise in frustration.”

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