VA settles for $20M for patient data breach

The Veterans Affairs Department has agreed to pay $20 million to veterans affected by the loss of a laptop computer in 2006 that contained sensitive personal identification information, as part of a proposed settlement to a lawsuit filed by five veterans' organizations.

The laptop was stolen from the home of a VA contractor, who had taken the data home without permission, according to the report.

The money, which will come from the U.S. Treasury, will be used to pay veterans who can show that they suffered actual harm, such as emotional distress or expenses incurred for credit monitoring, according to the New York Times. Veterans who can show harm from the data breach are eligible for payments of $75 to $1,500.

Any leftover money will be donated to charities serving veterans, however, a federal District Court judge in Washington must approve the terms of the settlement before it becomes final, reported the NY Times.