Report Summary

Title: Follow-up Review of VA’s Veterans Benefits Management System
Report Number: 13-00690-455 Download
Issue Date: 9/14/2015
VA Office: Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Office of Information and Technology (OIT)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Audit
Release Type: Unrestricted

In February 2013, we reported VA could not provide reasonable assurance the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) would meet its goals of increasing claims processing accuracy to 98 percent and eliminating the disability claims backlog by 2015. We conducted this follow-up review to determine how effectively VA is managing cost, performance, and schedule of VBMS development to meet its claims processing accuracy and backlog elimination goals. VA remained partially effective in managing VBMS development to help meet claims processing accuracy and backlog elimination goals. However, since September 2009, total estimated VBMS costs increased significantly from about $579.2 million to approximately $1.3 billion in January 2015. The increases were due to inadequate cost control, unplanned changes in system and business requirements, and inefficient contracting practices. As a result, VA could not ensure an effective return on its investment and total actual VBMS system development costs remained unknown. Amid evolving requirements, VBMS did not fully provide the capability to process claims from initial application to benefits delivery. Users lacked training needed to leverage the enhanced functionality provided. System response-time issues resulted from rapid software enhancements while system disruptions were due to inadequate service continuity practices. Until these issues are addressed, VA will continue to lack assurance of meeting its claims processing accuracy and backlog elimination goals by the end of 2015. We recommended the Executive in Charge of Information and Technology, in conjunction with the Under Secretary for Benefits, define and stabilize system and business requirements, address system performance problems, deploy required functionality to process claims end-to-end, and institute metrics needed to identify and ensure progress toward meeting stated goals.

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