The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) recently suffered data breach when veterans claims documents were included in the documents found in a former DVS employee’s storage unit.
According to the facility, exact amount of claims found from the employee’s storage unit was not known. Investigation is going on as technical experts are reviewing all the materials. For now, all the documents appeared to be dated between 2011 and mid-2015. Also, they are exclusively from the DVS benefits office at McGuire VAMC.
The experts are also working to determine the number of impacted veterans, their identities and the status of their claims. Facility mentioned that the process will take time of one week.
Thomas Herthel, the agency’s director of benefits, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that 20 to 30 boxes of documents were recovered and included “everything from claims to medical records to miscellaneous correspondence.”
Facility also mentioned that the former employee worked at the agency from January 2012 to August 25, 2015.
“Those claims were reviewed, and DVS contacted affected veterans to advise them and provide assistance,” DVS mentioned. “DVS terminated the employee at that time and has since assigned a new office manager for that location.”
Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs John Harvey mentioned that he was deeply concerned about the veterans whose information was mishandled. He also added that his team is working to ensure those veterans receive the necessary benefits.
“At the beginning of this administration, we identified a vulnerability in the Commonwealth’s claims process, and we began implementing a solution to this serious deficiency,” Harvey continued. “Regrettably, our fears were justified, and the danger we were working so hard to address was already a reality. We stand ready to assist any and all veterans impacted, and we are determined to prevent any similar mishandling of information from happening in the future.”
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