VA caught sending veterans' mail to the shredder

The VA’s Office of Inspector General said it launched an “unannounced inspection” of the Los Angeles office after hearing allegations that the VA staff there was shredding mail related to veterans’ disability compensation claims. Though the OIG said it can’t measure how often this might have happened, it did say it found some examples of mail lined up for the shredder that instead should have been opened and read.

“Although we cannot quantify or identify claims-related documents that the VARO may have shredded prior to our review, we found nine claims-related documents that VARO staff incorrectly placed in personal shred bins for non-claims related documents,” the OIG reported. “Eight of the nine documents had the potential to affect veterans’ benefits and one had no effect on the veteran’s benefits.”

The OIG said the placement of these letters in “shred bins” means that they were able to bypass the first level of control, which requires letters to be reviewed before they are shredded.