Federal investigators say that nearly half of the veterans who seek mental health care for the first time are waiting about 50 days before receiving a full evaluation, a much longer lag-time than what the Department of Veterans Affairs has reported.

The VA has been saying that 95 percent of new patients seeking mental health treatment get a full evaluation within the department's goal of 14 days. But an inspector general's report obtained by The Associated Press said that the department's tracking is flawed and that the VA was overstating its success.

The department has greatly beefed up staffing in recent years, but the report also confirmed that the VA's doctors and other medical staff don't believe they have the manpower necessary to handle the ever-growing veteran caseload.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)