VA requests more evidence for negative survey feedback

The Honorable Robert Wilkie, the Secretary of Veteran Affairs, thanks the Fisher House Foundation for supporting our troops and veterans while they receive treatment at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Fisher House Foundation in New Orleans, Nov. 5, 2019. The Fisher House Foundation provides housing and amenities for families with relatives receiving medical treatment at major military medical centers dating as far back as 1990. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher W. England)

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs returned a feedback survey to Staff Sgt. Michael Gillespie on Tuesday, noting “More evidence is needed before we can process your feedback.”

“It’s frustrating,” said Gillespie, a retired soldier who was dissatisfied with the way the VA processed his disability claim. “I had to deal with them for four years before they rated me at negative-50 percent, saying I was too healthy! Now, they are garnishing my paycheck, and I’m going to be out on the streets any day if this isn’t cleared up!”

Gillespie isn’t the only one who received notice of an issue with their feedback survey, as many other recently retired or separated servicemembers found similar notices in their mailboxes.

The documents were written in the manner of a form letter, and they all say pretty much the same thing:

“We can only improve our service with your feedback. However, a one-star rating requires a review by at least two US Census Bureau auditors, and due to the work being done for the 2020 Census, there is an estimated 74 Month wait to process your feedback.”

Perhaps to address what the employees know must be a frustrating situation for the servicemembers the agency is working to help, a pamphlet for suicide awareness and prevention was included with the letter.

Robert Wilkie, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, declined to comment but did issue a statement about the letters. He wrote, “Your survey feedback is important to us. Please be patient as we work to serve our veterans. A member of our team will be with you in approximately seven years.”


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