Report Summary

Title: Inspection of VA Regional Office Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Report Number: 13-01445-271
Issue Date: 8/8/2013
City/State: Milwaukee, WI
VA Office: Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Benefits Inspection
Release Type: Unrestricted
Summary: We evaluated the Milwaukee VARO to see how well it accomplishes its mission. We found the VARO staff did not accurately process 8 of 49 disability claims reviewed. We sampled claims we consider to be at higher risk of processing errors, thus these results do not represent the overall accuracy of disability claims processing at this VARO. Claims processing lacked consistent compliance with VBA procedures and resulted in paying inaccurate and unnecessary financial benefits. Specifically, 6 of 30 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations we reviewed were inaccurate. Errors in processing the temporary evaluations generally occurred because VARO staff did not enter suspense diaries into the electronic record or take timely action to reduce benefits as appropriate. Additionally, staff incorrectly processed 2 of 19 traumatic brain injury claims.
VARO managers ensured Systematic Analyses of Operations were complete and timely. However, staff did not always accurately address Gulf War veterans’ entitlement to mental health treatment. VARO staff provided adequate outreach to homeless veterans in the VAROs area of jurisdiction; however, we could not fully assess the effectiveness of these outreach activities because VBA needs performance metrics for its homeless veterans outreach program.
We recommended the VARO Director should implement a plan to ensure staff review for accuracy the 294 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations we provided at the end of this inspection. The Director concurred with our recommendation. Management’s planned actions are responsive and we will follow up as required.