Report Summary

Title: Inspection of the VA Regional Office Little Rock, Arkansas
Report Number: 12-00240-236
Issue Date: 7/26/2012
City/State: Little Rock, AR
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 Little Rock VARO accomplishes its mission of providing veterans with access to high-quality benefits and services. We found the VARO accurately processed 97 percent of both the traumatic brain injury and herbicide exposure-related claims we sampled. The VARO inaccurately processed 60 percent of the temporary 100 percent disability evaluations we reviewed, because staff did not schedule medical reexaminations as required to determine whether to continue these evaluations. Although our results show VARO staff did not process 20 (22 percent) of the 89 disability claims accurately, these results do not represent the overall accuracy of disability claims processing at this VARO as we sample selected types of claims at higher risk of processing error. VARO staff corrected errors identified by the VBA’s STAR program as required. However, management did not ensure staff completed or used adequate data to support SAO. Insufficient management oversight allowed the improper processing of mail, thus raters lack all the evidence available to make accurate and timely claims decisions. We also noted Gulf War veterans were not always informed of entitlement to treatment for mental disorders. Further, outreach to homeless shelters and service providers was not provided as required. The Acting VARO Director concurred with our recommendations.