By the 1990s, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was receiving claims applications from veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The “word on the street” was that it would be necessary to submit an application three times because the first two applications would automatically be rejected.
Applications based on wounds, injuries or illness sustained years earlier while in military service required documentation. Perhaps some of those applications were not properly prepared, but the frequent rejections fostered the impression that the delays were deliberate. Deceased veterans do not resubmit claims.
I noticed a job announcement for a low-level position processing veterans’ claims. Although I was retired from military service, I thought that it would be a way that I could make a worthwhile contribution, and I applied. The manager of the field office reviewed and ranked the applications. He ranked my application No. 1.
The field office manager had to send the applications and his ranking of them to a central office for approval — Baltimore, Maryland, in this case. The Baltimore office refused to allow my application to proceed. Its hiring managers said, in writing, that they wanted someone just out of college with one but no more than two years of experience as an automobile claims adjuster.
It’s unlikely that a candidate fitting that profile would have had military experience or have acquired empathy for military veterans. A person with those qualifications might eventually become effective, but probably not for several years.
Meanwhile, if you have to wait a long time for an insurance adjuster to inspect your fender-bender, perhaps it is because the automobile insurance company is short on staff.
Jack Stevenson is a retired veteran and civil service employee who previously worked in Egypt for the former Radio Corporation of America. He lives in Pensacola, Florida.