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Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General
Michael J. Missal, Inspector General

Report Summary

Title: Inspection VA Regional Office Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Report Number: 12-03475-169 Download
Issue Date: 4/9/2013
City/State: Philadelphia, PA
VA Office: Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Benefits Inspection
Release Type: Unrestricted

We conducted this inspection to evaluate how well the Philadelphia VARO accomplishes this mission. We found VARO staff did not accurately process 22 (37 percent) of 60 disability claims we reviewed. Specifically, 50 percent of the 30 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations we reviewed were inaccurate because of lack of management oversight to ensure staff took timely actions to reduce veterans’ benefits as appropriate. Further, staff did not follow VBA or local policy for scheduling future medical reexaminations. VARO staff inaccurately processed 7 of 30 traumatic brain injury claims because they did not always comply with second signature requirements and used insufficient medical examination reports to evaluate these claims. VARO managers generally ensured staff completed SAOs as required. However, staff did not always advise Gulf War veterans they were entitled to mental health treatment at VA facilities. Managers also did not ensure staff updated the homeless veterans outreach directory, nor did staff contact all homeless facilities in their jurisdiction. We recommend the VARO Director develop and implement plans to ensure timely benefits reduction actions, provide refresher training on scheduling future medical reexaminations, and ensure staff follow second signature requirements and return insufficient medical examination reports for traumatic brain injury claims. Also, controls are needed to ensure staff update the resource directory and contact all homeless facilities in their jurisdiction. The VARO Director concurred with our recommendations. Management’s planned actions are responsive and we will follow up as required.