SPRINGVILLE, TN (WSMV) - For 17 months, a Navy veteran Carl Holland hasn't been able to see his own benefits.
Why? Because he says the VA system accidentally linked his name to a complete stranger he'd never met.
Issues with his health, Holland says, stems from his time in service during Agent Orange, a type of weed killer, used as a tactic to clear out brush in the jungles during Vietnam was later determined to have health effects on veterans.
It’s what Carl Holland was exposed to as a young Navy man, and still affects him at the age of 74.
“I’ve had to have three back surgeries and I’m facing probably another one with the neurosurgeon at Vanderbilt. Right now, I’m trying to stay if off with pain medication, pain management, and physical therapy,” Holland said.
It’s the reason he’s seeking VA Disability Benefits. However, getting that information about his medical benefits through the VA has been impossible for the last 17 months.
When he tries to log in with his name, the system brings up another Veteran’s details who lives in Texas! When he told the VA, he says they labeled it as fraud.
“I could not get into my file! They told me you’re looking at someone else’s records, so we locked you out of your file. I said that’s insane. I’m the one that told you there’s somebody in my file. My login. Everything!!” Holland said.
Andrew Kester’s Director of the Montgomery County Veterans Service Organization. Kester helps hundreds of veterans get the help they need and referred Mr. Holland to News 4 Investigates' Call 4 Action team.
Kester says what Holland experienced was a mixture of human error and fraud safety features set to protect veterans.
“One slip of the key, one slip of the typing, took 30 seconds to make the mistakes, has now taken a year to correct,” Kester said.
So, News4 Investigates got on the case. We contacted the VA, asking how did this happen? A week after we started asking questions, Holland can now access his benefits. He just wonders how many other veterans have experienced the same problem.
“If they’re not fighting the VA today to get what’s due to them, they’re going to be fighting them in the future, because they’re going to be blowing them off.
News4 reached out to the VA to get their reasons as to what exactly happened with Mr. Holland’s account. They stated that for privacy reasons, they cannot discuss his information. They did mention that it was reported to the appropriate office.
News4 also asked the VA about the concerns that another person’s name and information appeared where it didn’t need to be. We are waiting to hear back from the VA regarding the matter.
If you are having trouble getting answers from the VA, there are several resources available to you: