An internal document obtained by the Huffington Post reveals that more than 35,000 combat veterans have been denied Veterans Affairs health care enrollment due to a computer error. Many veterans are required to submit a means test, which assesses their household income, in order to be enrolled. But here’s the problem: It’s not required for combat veterans because they are automatically eligible for five years of free care. The document, provided by Scott Davis, a program specialist with the VA Health Eligibility Center in Atlanta and a past whistleblower, shows that 35,093 combat veterans who applied for care were flagged by the system because they did not complete a means test.
“The VA has created an illegal, artificial barrier for people to access care,” said Davis. “We’re not talking about people who didn’t get care because they didn’t want it. We’re talking about people who turned in applications and VA said, ‘No, go into a backlog because you didn’t give us financial information.'”
VA management has known about the problem since last April, reports the Huffington Post, and the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees are expected to press the issue with the VA when they meet this week.