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Veteran experiencing delays in travel reimbursements, fears others are too

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DENHAM SPRINGS - A U.S. Army Veteran reached out to 2 On Your Side after he says he has been having an issue with the Veteran's Affairs office issuing his travel expense reimbursements.

Gilbert Tauscher has been receiving medical travel expense reimbursements for about a decade, but in the last year or so the reimbursements have been slow to come in.

"A year ago I would get reimbursed in say, two to three weeks," Tauscher said.

That's not the case anymore. Tauscher says each month his reimbursements are coming in later and later.

"When you're on a fixed income and you're waiting for that to come in, you have to put out your money for your travel and all that, it puts everything else in a bind," he said.

Instead of a couple of weeks, Tauscher says he is now waiting months for reimbursements. He has about a dozen medical travel expenses, some dating back to mid-July, that have not be refunded.

"They keep trying to tell me, well, it's a staffing issue," he said.

Tauscher has taken it to the director's office, sending letters expressing his concerns. He says he's received a couple of responses citing staffing issues and a backlog, but he says changes haven't been made and the issues haven't been addressed.

Tauscher says he might only be waiting on about $200, but for someone on a fixed income it's a lot of money.

"I don't believe that I'm the only veteran that's experiencing this, I believe that all the veterans that are having travel reimbursement are having a problem," Tauscher said.

He's making it work for now, but he'd like to get caught up.

The Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System offers benefits such as VA-provided transportation as well as reimbursement for travel expenses to eligible veterans.

The VA says it aims to process all claims with a payout in 45 days. Its online travel benefit system, which was implemented earlier this year, will allow the VA to provide this benefit to veterans in the most efficient manner possible. Should a veteran have questions about their travel claim reimbursement, contact the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System at 1-800-935-8387 ext. 65566.



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