VA ignores problem keeping thousands of combat vets from getting benefits

Thousands of combat veterans are still waiting to learn if they will receive health care benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, but the agency is refusing to answer Congress's questions about the backlog.

The waiting list includes nearly 2,000 applications that are sitting at just one office in Atlanta, but that the VA refuses to acknowledge as actual applications, according to an agency whistleblower.

Scott Davis, a program specialist at the Health Eligibility Center in Atlanta, said the VA is attempting to downplay the number of veterans waiting to be enrolled by ignoring the fact that those 1,833 veterans already applied.

Instead, he said, the agency plans to send out letters asking them to apply again in a poorly-timed outreach campaign set for the week of Thanksgiving.