Military Connection: New VA Actions! By Debbie Gregory

VA action

By Debbie Gregory

On Tuesday July 15, 2014, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced new actions that the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) will be taking to ensure the integrity and accuracy of its claims systems and processes. The VA has announced the following actions:

  • The VA will assemble an expert team to determine possible scenarios where an individual might find a way around the VA’s current system and decide if further controls are needed.
  • The VA will conduct a facility and desk audit of mail and documentation at all 56 regional offices. The purpose of the audit will be to ensure records management compliance, including the proper control, storage, and maintenance of claim mail and other benefit-related documents is being utilized.
  • The VBA’s quality program will apply for ISO 9001 certification, which would provide additional validation and quality assurance of the VBA’s data.
  • When any individual VA employee is found to have worked around the standard claims process, the VA will immediately notify the Office of Inspector General.
  • The VA will also continue to make performance data on benefits available through its Monday Morning Workload Reports every week.

The VA’s under-secretary for benefits, Allison Hickey, detailed the actions before the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

“The Veterans Benefits Administration takes seriously its commitment to providing timely, accurate benefits, and maintaining the integrity of our systems and processes,” Hickey said. “We have many checks and balances in our systems and data, and we are working to add even more as we improve delivery of earned benefits.”

On July 14th, the VBA announced that it had completed its one millionth disability claim in fiscal year 2014. The VBA is on track to complete more than 1.3 million claims this year. If the numbers hold, nearly 200,000 more Veterans will receive decisions on their disability claims than did in fiscal year 2013. This is the fifth year in a row that the VBA has completed over one million disability claims.

The VBA has reduced the claims backlog by more than 55%, from its peak of 611,000 in March, 2013. Veterans with pending claims have been waiting an average of 128 fewer days for a decision on their claim. At the same time, the accuracy of the VBA’s rating decisions continues to improve. The national accuracy rate is currently at 91%.

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Military Connection: New VA Actions! By Debbie Gregory