Report Summary

Title: Inspection of the VA Regional Office, Lincoln, Nebraska
Report Number: 12-00243-219
Issue Date: 7/10/2012
City/State: Lincoln, NE
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 Lincoln VARO accomplishes this mission. Of the 51 VAROs we have inspected since April 2009, the Lincoln VARO ranked in the top 6 percent for claims processing accuracy. Lincoln VARO leaders attributed their successful operations to robust training efforts resulting in a highly skilled workforce and a unified management team providing exceptional oversight. Generally, VARO staff processed traumatic brain injury and herbicide exposure-related disability claims correctly. However, the VARO did not always accurately process temporary 100 percent disability evaluations. These errors occurred when staff did not schedule required medical reexaminations. Overall, VARO staff did not accurately process 11 (13 percent) of 85 disability claims we sampled as part of our inspection. These results do not represent the overall accuracy of disability claims processing at this VARO because we sampled specific high-risk claims. VARO staff took appropriate actions when correcting errors identified by VBA’s STAR program. Management ensured staff completed thorough and timely SAOs. Because VARO managers provided effective oversight of mail-processing workspace, they were able to control and route all mail the date it arrived at the VARO. VARO staff also provided adequate outreach to homeless shelters and service providers by working collaboratively with community and advocacy groups. However, VARO staff did not always address Gulf War veterans’ entitlement to mental health treatment as required. The Lincoln VARO Director should develop and implement a plan to ensure staff address Gulf War veterans’ entitlement to mental health treatment.