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Letter: Dig deeper for source of VA delays

As a retired rating specialist with the New York regional office of the Department of Veterans Affairs who processed claims for disability benefits for 32 years, I would like to respond to the letter from the veteran of the Iraq War ["NY vets service brings up the rear," May 14].

The director of the New York regional office was replaced in 2009. Apparently, the problem in the delay of processing claims still exists. This is because there are systemic problems at the entire Department of Veterans Affairs that existed before the recent influx of claims from veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Because the New York office handles a large volume of claims, these problems have a greater impact at that office in generating the negative data cited in Newsday's April 30 article, "Long wait for vets." Until these long-standing problems are addressed, they will continue to some degree even if more efficient managers are hired.

The previous letter likened the VA office's performance to that of a famous manager. As Casey Stengel said about winning so many championships with the Yankees, "I couldn't have done it without the players." The Department of Veterans Affairs cannot perform well without an analysis of why these delays have persisted for so many years.

Mark Goldstein, Manhattan