- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 2, 2016

More than 24,000 post-9/11 veterans with possible traumatic brain injuries who were denied disability benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs from 2007 to 2015 may have been improperly diagnosed.

The VA said those veterans could qualify to receive another medical exam for brain injury without having to refile a claim. If their injury is confirmed, their compensation will be awarded back to the date of the initial claim.

“Providing support for veterans suffering from a TBI is a priority and a privilege, and we must make certain they receive a just and fair rating for their disabilities,” VA Secretary Robert McDonald said in a statement. “We let these veterans down.”

A list published by the department showed the largest number of veterans eligible for new testing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina — 2,992 veterans served in that region. Atlanta has 2,091 such veterans; Seattle, 2,076.

A source connected to a veterans’ group said the problem may have arisen because veterans “had been receiving treatment for traumatic brain injury at the VA from unqualified staff, which had an effect not only on quality of care but also disability compensation.”

In 2007, the VA began requiring veterans to receive medical assessments for traumatic brain injury from one of four specialists — either a psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist or neurosurgeon. The agency denied claims of veterans whose initial test was done by another medical provider.

SEE ALSO: VFW blasts Obama for asserting members are confused by right-wing media

VA officials said veterans may have been denied compensation because the agency issued a “number of guidance documents that may have created confusion regarding the policy.”

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