Well, I guess the answer is when it is the VA!
So to add to Linda’s previous and excellent Blog about how to deal with the VA and your Congressman or Woman, I wanted to add the following.
Back last March I contacted our VA over an issue on behalf of the disabled Veteran that I care for. I also forwarded the same information to our Congressman who has been very helpful in the past. I like to keep him in the loop!
As of June first I still had not received any response from the VA, although I did get a response from our Congressman in May, who also sent a copy of the letter that he received from the VA.
I figured that if the Congressman could find the time to answer my communication, then the VA should be able to do the same, so I sent off yet another fax which I followed up with hard copy via mail.
That elicited a phone response from the VAMC, from a man who identified himself as ‘from the executive office’, but he was not, as he was quick to inform me, the actual person who was responsible for dealing with this issue, he was merely a stand-in for him! I felt like responding that the VA’s staffing problems were not my main concern, but I restrained myself with admirable calm.
I did not feel quite so calm when I heard his explanation of why I received no acknowledgement of my communication. He told me that when the VA are contacted by a Veteran and also by a Congressman on any issue, they respond to the Congressman and let him or her respond to the Veteran!!!
In other words, the VA obviously do not feel that the Veteran is deserving of any kind of response or acknowledgement. Aside from any moral aspect of disrespect for the Veteran, this goes against all forms of good business practice, which dictates that if someone take the trouble to contact your business or organization for any reason, the very least they should be able to expect is the courtesy of a response.
The VA are also using the Congressman to do their work for them, namely expecting him or her to act as their secretary and deal with their mail. As our Congressmen are elected by their constituents and are supported by our tax dollars, I find this quite incredible.
Therefore, please be aware that if you should need to contact your VA for any reason, either by letter or fax, you probably also need to send the same information to your Congressman so that at some point in the future, you can expect some kind of third party response.