Report Summary

Title: Inspection of the VA Regional Office, Montgomery, Alabama
Report Link: http://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-11-04432-77.pdf
Report Number: 11-04432-77
Issue Date: 2/1/2012
City/State: Montgomery, AL
VA Office: Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Benefits Inspection
Release Type: Unrestricted
Summary: We conducted this inspection to evaluate how well the Montgomery VARO accomplishes their mission. We found Montgomery VARO staff timely processed homeless veterans’ claims and provided adequate outreach to homeless shelters and service providers. In general, the VARO accurately processed herbicide exposure-related claims, corrected errors identified by VBA’s STAR program, and completed all elements of SAOs timely. However, the VARO lacked accuracy in processing some disability claims. Inaccuracies in processing temporary 100 percent disability evaluations occurred when staff did not schedule required medical reexaminations. Inaccuracies related to traumatic brain injury claims resulted from staff using insufficient medical examinations to make final disability determinations. Overall, VARO staff did not accurately process 24 (29 percent) of 83 disability claims we sampled as part of our inspection. These results do not represent the overall accuracy of disability claims processing at this VARO. The VARO staff did not properly process mail or accurately address Gulf War veterans’ entitlement to mental health treatment. Further, delays in making final competency determinations occurred when staff did not prioritize these decisions as required. The VARO Director concurred with our findings and recommendations and the planned actions are responsive. We will follow up as required on all actions.