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Last month, a decorated Gulf War hero received a letter from the Veterans Affairs Administration that said: We are working on your claim for menstrual disorder. He was surprised -- but not as much as one might think.
Last month, a decorated Gulf War hero received a letter from the Veterans Affairs Administration that said: We are working on your claim for menstrual disorder.
There was just one problem: The claim was submitted for fibromyalgia.
Make that two problems: The claim was submitted by Glenn McBride, a 40-year-old man from Roanoke, Va., who most definitely does not get menstrual cramps.
It's a bad sign when your health insurance provider can’t figure out which gender reaches for the Midol. (Hint: it's the one without the prostate.)
In September 2009 a surprise inspection found the office was collapsing under the weight of its own bureaucratic incompetence. Literally.
Its filing system — floor-to-ceiling stacks of overfilled file cabinets and loose claims folders — weighed twice as much as the building's structure allowed, threatening the lives of everyone inside. Inspectors also found missing and improperly filed, stored and processed claims, among other problems.
The regional office was ordered to overhaul the health care processing center completely.
McBride, whose 14 years of Army service included a combat tour with one of the most highly decorated units during Desert Storm -- and did not include any complaints about menstrual cramps, so far as he can recall -- insists this was not just a clerical error. He says it's one more example of the VA ignoring or messing up claims in order to avoid paying benefits.
"If the VA does not actually recognize the request, they do not have to give the award," he said. "Sort of like a perverted form of 'See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil.'
Most people just throw up their hands in frustration and walk away at this point. That is the VA's plan."