Report Summary

Title: Inspection of VA Regional Office, Fargo, North Dakota
Report Number: 11-03724-73
Issue Date: 1/25/2012
City/State: Fargo, ND
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 Fargo VARO accomplishes this mission. We found the Fargo VARO staff followed the VBA’s policy for completing SAOs and correcting errors identified through the STAR program. VARO performance was generally effective in processing traumatic brain injury and herbicide exposure-related disability claims and handling mail. 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 future medical reexaminations. VARO staff did not correctly process 26 (39 percent) of the 67 disability claims we sampled as part of our inspection. These results do not represent the overall accuracy of disability claims processing at this VARO. VARO management did not ensure staff accurately addressed Gulf War veterans’ entitlement to mental health treatment. Processing of competency determinations was not fully effective, resulting in unnecessary delays in final decisions and improper benefits payments. A lack of management controls over receipt, development, and completion of homeless veterans’ claims resulted in processing delays. Finally, the VARO did not require the Homeless Veterans Outreach Coordinator to perform duties related to homeless veterans outreach.