Report Summary

Title: Inspection of Denver VA Regional Office
Report Number: 17-01354-336 Download
Report
Issue Date: 9/5/2017
City/State: Lakewood, CO
VA Office: Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Benefit Inspection
Release Type: Unrestricted
Summary:

In March 2017, OIG evaluated the Denver, CO, VA Regional Office (VARO) to determine how well Veterans Service Center (VSC) staff processed veterans’ disability claims, how timely and accurately they processed proposed rating reductions, how accurately they entered claims-related information, and how well they responded to special controlled correspondence. VSC staff generally processed the disability claims we reviewed correctly. OIG reviewed 30 veterans’ traumatic brain injury claims and found staff accurately processed 28. Additionally, OIG reviewed 30 veterans’ special monthly compensation (SMC) or ancillary benefit claims and found staff correctly processed 26. One error affected a veteran’s benefits and resulted in eight improper monthly underpayments totaling approximately $17,400. Systemic trends among these errors were not identified, so no recommendation for improvement was made. VSC staff generally processed rating reductions accurately, but needed to prioritize workloads to ensure timely action. OIG reviewed 30 reduction cases and found staff delayed or incorrectly processed 14. Delays were due to prioritization of other workloads by VARO management. Delays and errors resulted in approximately $51,400 in overpayments and $1,100 in underpayments. OIG reviewed 30 newly established cases and found staff did not correctly input claim information into the electronic systems at the time of claims establishment for 19, due to staff inexperience and ineffective oversight. VSC staff generally processed special correspondence timely and accurately. OIG reviewed 30 special correspondence and found one was processed untimely and four were processed inaccurately. Systemic trends were not identified among the errors, so no recommendation for improvement was made in this area. OIG recommended the VARO Director implement a plan to complete proposed rating reductions at end of due process, and implement a plan to have claims processing staff receive training on claims establishment procedures to improve oversight. The VARO Director concurred with our recommendations, and planned actions are responsive.