||Inspection of the VA Regional Office, Manila, Philippines
||Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
||Office of Audits and Evaluations
We conducted this inspection to evaluate how well the Manila VARO accomplishes this mission. The Manila VARO administers benefits to veterans and their survivors residing in the Philippines and is the only office located in a foreign country. We found the Manila VARO staff accurately processed traumatic brain injury and Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation claims and provided adequate homeless outreach. VARO performance was generally effective in processing herbicide exposure-related claims and in following VBA policy for correcting errors identified by STAR program staff. However, the VARO lacked effective controls and accuracy in processing some disability claims. Inaccuracies in processing temporary 100 percent disability evaluations resulted when staff did not schedule or establish controls for medical reexaminations. Finally, processing of competency determinations was not fully effective, resulting in unnecessary delays in making final decisions and improper benefits payments. We recommended the VARO Director develop and implement a plan to ensure oversight and control of search mail, as well as completion of SAOs, as well as implement controls to ensure staff properly process competency determinations. The VARO Director concurred with our recommendations.