Military Personnel Files Destroyed Decades Ago Still Causing Challenges for Vets Seeking Disability

Current troubles facing Veterans Administration (VA) has cast a shadow over a much older problem. More than 40 years ago, a fire at the National Personnel Records Center destroyed between 16 and 18 million military personnel files. The effects are still felt today, reports Fox News, with many vets struggling to get the benefits they deserve.

Because electronic record keeping didn’t exist, the VA has been unable to reconstruct some of those files. As a result, some vets who sustained injuries in previous wars have had trouble collecting disability benefits.

The National Archives reports that the fire destroyed 75 percent of Air Force personnel discharged between September 25, 1947 and January 1, 1964, and 80 percent of Army personnel discharged between November 1, 1912 and January 1, 1960, according to the Fox News article.

Record keeping has apparently been an issue that’s plagued the VA for decades. They didn’t create indexes for the files, microfilm copies or duplicates.

However, archivists have been able to recover some of those records. In fact, their efforts to restore them continues today. As a result, some vets have finally received approval for benefits. This includes those who served during WWII and Vietnam.

In light of the VA’s current problems involving secret waiting lists and poor scheduling, it’s clear the VA still has a major problem with record keeping and serving vets. Fraud and improper claims handling are a couple of the biggest issues faced today, but so is waiting. Today’s vets may not have had to wait as long as those whose files were destroyed in a fire four decades ago to get benefits, but it’s still an ongoing issue as the VA works to address the claims backlog.

Qualifying for disability benefits is just the first step. Next is to file the paperwork and submit the appropriate type of evidence. Because of the backlog of claims, it’s important to do this correctly the first time. For help filing an initial claim, or to appeal a denied claim, contact the Law Offices of Veterans Help Group at 855-855-8992 or via our online contact form.