|Title:||Audit of the Quick Start Program|
|City/State:||San Diego, CA
|VA Office:||Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
|Report Author:||Office of Audits and Evaluations
|Report Type:||Audits, Reviews & Evaluations
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) evaluated the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA) Quick Start Program, compared results from 2011 to 2013, to determine if VBA’s timeliness and accuracy of claims processing improved during this period. The Quick Start Program processed about 30,900 disability claims in FY 2013. This program offers servicemembers a seamless transition from the Department of Defense into VA’s health care system.
In FY 2013, VBA successfully reduced Consolidated Processing Site’s Quick Start claims pending inventory by about 8,800 (51 percent), and reduced the average days to complete (ADTC) a claim from 291 days in 2011 to 249 days for the period of April through June 2013. The ADTC remained high because VBA lacked adequate program controls.
We projected veterans using the Quick Start Program in 2011 experienced an average delay of 196 days in receiving benefits valued at about $88 million. This improved from April through June 2013, when the delays averaged 99 days. We also estimated VBA accurately processed 62 percent of Quick Start claims during 2011, improving to about 69 percent during the period April through June 2013. Accuracy rates are still considered low because of insufficient oversight and training, and conflicting guidance on granting service connection for medical disabilities.
We recommended the Under Secretary for Benefits increase Veterans Service Network Operation Report capabilities, include pre-discharge processing time in performance results, conduct recurring program evaluations, perform systematic reviews of Quick Start claims processing, and provide training on issues identified.
The Under Secretary for Benefits concurred with Recommendations 3 thru 7 and 9, and provided plans for corrective actions and requested the OIG close these recommendations. However, the Under Secretary for Benefits non-concurred with Recommendations 1, 2, and 8, stating OIG’s findings on timeliness, backlog issues, and rating accuracy were not attributable to VBA’s program oversight or management. OIG’s audit evidence sufficiently and appropriately provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions. We requested VBA to provide OIG documentation of actions taken and will follow up on implementation of the corrective actions. Where VBA non-concurred, OIG will continue its scrutiny and reporting.