WASHINGTON (AP) - A group of injured Iraq war veterans is accusing outgoing VA Secretary Jim Nicholson of breaking the law by denying them disability pay and mental health treatment.
The class-action lawsuit against the US Department of Veterans Affairs seeks broad change in the agency as it struggles to meet growing demands from veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The suit says the VA has failed to provide prompt disability benefits, has not added staff to reduce wait times for medical care and has not boosted services for post-traumatic stress disorder.
The suit also charges Veterans Affairs and the Pentagon with cheating some psychologically wounded vets out of benefits by misclassifying PTSD claims as pre-existing personality disorders.
A VA spokesman says the agency is committed to meeting the special needs of Iraq war veterans.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)