Report Summary

Title: Audit of VBA’s National Pension Call Center
Report Number: 16-03922-392 Download
Issue Date: 11/1/2017
City/State: Philadelphia, PA
VA Office: Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type:
Release Type: Unrestricted

This audit sought to determine whether the National Pension Call Center (NPCC) is providing timely and quality assistance to veterans and their families. OIG found Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) management needed to improve the NPCC’s oversight of quality review and training processes. Specifically, NPCC supervisors did not review or take corrective actions for calls evaluated by quality-review specialists. Calls in Spanish were not included in Benefits Assistance Service (BAS) quality-review monitoring, and NPCC management and call agents did not complete or properly record all required training. VBA management lacked reasonable assurance that the NPCC’s hours of operation provided sufficient availability for pension recipients to speak with agents. Also, the Philadelphia VA Regional Office (VARO) staff mailed documentation that included personally identifiable information (PII) to incorrect addresses. This occurred because the NPCC coach did not implement a process requiring corrective actions to address low-scoring quality review results. BAS has never had a quality-review specialist fluent in Spanish to evaluate calls. The NPCC and BAS management provided inadequate oversight to ensure staff received or completed the required training. VBA management did not analyze the available call data to determine the number of calls that go unanswered after the close of NPCC’s business day. The Philadelphia VARO’s controls for outgoing mail processes needed strengthening. OIG recommended VBA implement controls to ensure callers receive accurate and complete responses to pension inquiries, BAS has qualified staff to evaluate the quality of Spanish-speaking calls, and required training is completed and recorded timely and to continuously evaluate data for calls made outside of normal business hours. OIG also recommended the Philadelphia VARO Director strengthen controls at the VARO to ensure documents that include PII are mailed to the intended veteran. The Acting Under Secretary for Benefits concurred with our findings and recommendations. We considered the corrective action plans acceptable and will follow up on their implementation.