Nevada veterans with questions about delays in processing their disability claims and the ever-growing backlog say they've hit another roadblock.
Veterans in the Reno area received letters about the status of their claims from a manager at the city's Veterans Benefits Administration Service Center who no longer works there, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Willie L. Smith, a 30-year career Air Force veteran from North Las Vegas, said he's received a total of three letters from Allen Bittler, who hasn't worked at the agency's Reno regional office since he retired nearly two years ago, according to the newspaper.
Smith received a letter dated March 30 and signed by "A. Bittler," informing him, "We are still processing your application for COMPENSATION."
Smith told the paper he wants to know why months have passed without his receiving a disability rating decision, when the Department of Veteran Affairs recently announced the wait time for such decisions was down to 95 days from 357 days at the peak of the backlog in February 2013. Smith receives VA health care for other disabilities, but submitted a claim for a heart condition and spinal, neck and shoulder injuries in September 2014.
"All I want is a final determination," Smith told the paper. "Based on what they're saying about 95 days, why isn't mine resolved?"
VA officials said they do not comment on individual cases, but a spokesman for the Veterans Benefits Administration in Reno told the newspaper its office has "identified a computer glitch that continued to use Mr. Bittler's name on some outgoing correspondence." The mistake was caught in March, according to spokesman Nathanial Miller.