WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Tens of thousands US combat veterans have been prevented from signing up for health care by a computer bungle from the scandal-plagued Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), according to a document published by The Huffington Post.
“The document shows that 35,093 combat vets who applied for health care aren't getting it because the VA system has erroneously flagged them as needing to submit a means test,” the report said.
VA employee and whistleblower Scott Davis leaked the document to the media outlet according to the report.
“Many vets have to submit a means test to be enrolled, but it's not required for combat vets, who are automatically eligible for five years of free care,” the report said.
Davis told the Huffington Post that the VA in practice created an arbitrary and illegal barrier that prevented people who qualified for health care — and who had applied for it — from getting it.
The report said that most of the combat veterans barred from coverage by the mistake had severed over the past 14 years in either the Iraq or Afghanistan wars.
“About 16,000 of them have been pending for more than five years, while about 19,000 have been pending from between one month and five years,” the report stated.
Unless special action is taken by VA officials, the report explained, all of the affected veterans will not be eligible to get health care even if the error is corrected because coverage is limited to five years after they are discharged.
The Huffington Post noted that in April 2015, an earlier leaked VA document revealed nearly one-third of 847,000 veterans with pending applications for health care had died before they could receive it.
VA officials are now contacting combat veterans and are instructing them to fill out a new form, where they agree to co-payments for their health coverage.
Critics claim this is presenting the long-suffering veterans with yet another bureaucratic hurdle to overcome.
The Veterans Administration is a component of the US government that administers a variety of benefits and services providing financial and other forms of assistance to former US service members, veterans, their dependents and survivors.