VA Building at Risk of Collapse from Weight of Claim Files

The VA recently announced that the Winston-Salem Regional Office had so many veterans disability claim files that the building was unsafe and in danger of collapse from the sheer weight of the files.

Due to the bulk of claims received by the VA every year, file cabinets were packed and claim documents were piled on top of cabinets, in boxes on the floor, and along the walls. A load-bearing study revealed that the overall weight exceeded the floor’s capacity by almost 40 pounds per square foot.

VA Building at Risk of Collapse Creates Dangers for Employees

The problems apparently started in 2005, when the Winston-Salem RO started collecting disability claims prior to service members’ discharge from service. Although staff did the best they could to transfer or retire files, they finally ran out of space and could not be given more because of lack of funds and easy storage options.

An Inspector General report concluded that the piles of files resulted in an “unsafe environment” for employees. At least one worker had already been injured in 2011 when files fell off a cabinet. Moreover, the files themselves are at risk: lack of proper storage means they are more likely to be damaged by water or fire — or misplaced altogether.

Plans to Fix the Problem of Too Many VA Files

VA staff immediately moved some files to other floors after the inspection. The office plans to buy a high-density file system for the building’s basement. They obviously also look forward to the VA-Department of Defense integrated electronic medical records system that is planned for the future.

See the full NBC News article: “VA office stacked 37,000 files on cabinets after running out of storage

More News on the VA Claim Backlog

Veterans Help Group, veterans disability advocates stay on top of news affecting VA claims. You can read the latest here on our blog about the VA claims backlog. Need help with a VA claim or appeal? Contact us for a free case evaluation! We are here to help.

More Articles

Federal Court Addresses PTSD Stressors

A recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit confirms that VA must apply a generous standard when evaluating the lay testimony of veterans suffering from PTSD concerning their combat experiences and PTSD stressors. Sanchez-Navarro v....

Permanent and Total VA Disability Ratings for PTSD

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Symptoms of PTSD usually begin within three months of the...

Depression And Your VA Claim

Depression can negatively affect every aspect of your life: how you feel, think, sleep, function, and interact with others. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health Issues, about 14% of veterans suffer from depression. Depression is one of the most common...

Four Tips On How To Get The Highest PTSD Rating

If you have been fortunate enough to have been granted service connection for PTSD, then you have probably been given a disappointingly low rating.  This is a very common situation so you are not alone. The VA regularly underrates PTSD claims.  In the...

FREE CASE EVALUATION 

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.