According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the benefits system dates back as far as the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony when they were at war with the American Indians. Over the years, direct services and benefits were created to benefit veterans, as well as their widows or widowers and dependents and now include medical care, vocational rehabilitation, and even the cemetery system. With such a wide range of services, sometimes veterans can be overlooked. For this and other reasons, you may encounter a situation in which you must file a complaint with the Veterans Affairs Office.
Write a Complaint
Write a complaint. Include your name, address and telephone number. If you are filing on behalf of a veteran, widow, widower or dependent, include your personal information as well and how you are related to the complainant.
Clearly describe the complaint. Include as many details as possible, including how access to services or benefits was denied and information about who was involved, such as the location of the hospital, the VA organization responsible or any other standard that was not met.
Provide a description that lays out the severity of the complainant’s disability or need for benefits and the review of the case.
Send your written complaint against the Department of Veterans Affairs to Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, 810 Vermont Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20420.
Patient Health Care Dispute
Go to a Patient Advocate at your local VA health care facility.
Describe the quality of care that you received and discuss any special needs or problems that you have.
Request a review of your case and follow up with the medical center staff for resolution to your claim regarding care received through the VA.
Contact the Board of Veteran’s Appeals if you are dissatisfied with the assistance provided by the medical center.
Write a letter with your personal contact information and explain the provider’s decision to not provide a specific route of care or treatment. Send the letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Board of Veterans Appeals, 810 West Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20420.
Call the VAOIG Hotline
Call the Department of Veterans Affairs OIG Hotline at 1-800-488-8244 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The hotline accepts calls to discuss employee misconduct, patient abuse, safety violations, theft from VA beneficiaries, misuse of government property, false claims, problems with VA programs or operations and gross waste of funds.
Supply information on which VA facility was involved, the identity of the wrongdoer, what policy was violated, the effect of the wrongdoing, the date of the events, the identity of those who witnessed the event, copies of relevant documents and whether anyone has reviewed the allegation.
Provide an address and telephone number of the complainant unless you wish to remain anonymous.
Andrea Helaine has a Bachelor of Philosophy in theology and is currently finishing her thesis course for a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. Helaine has been writing professionally for over 10 years and has been published in several anthologies and is currently breaking into the screenwriting market.