Report Summary

Title: Boston, Massachusetts, VA Regional Office Supervisor Incorrectly Processed Work Items
Report Number: 19-07350-192 Download
Issue Date: 9/19/2019
City/State: Boston, MA
VA Office: Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Review
Release Type: Unrestricted

The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted this review to determine whether a supervisor at the VA regional office in Boston, Massachusetts, incorrectly processed system generated messages known as “work items” that may have affected recipients’ benefits. Work items are a type of internal control that the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) uses to track cases that may require follow-up action for benefit payments to continue. If work items are not processed correctly, benefit payments may be made in error.

The OIG reviewed 110 cases the supervisor processed from October 1, 2017, to February 6, 2019, and found he incorrectly cancelled 33 of 55 work items, and improperly cleared another nine work items from the electronic record. Because of these incorrectly processed cases, VA made about $117,300 in improper payments to veterans or other beneficiaries, along with about $8,600 in delayed payments.

The supervisor said he did not intentionally process the work items incorrectly, and the errors were the result of working too quickly and misunderstanding procedures. VBA oversight processes did not detect the errors because work items and claims processed by supervisors were not subject to quality reviews. The supervisor’s performance standards focused on management duties and not claims processing.

The OIG recommended the Boston regional office director immediately review and correct all cases the supervisor erroneously processed that are likely to result in adjustments to recipients’ benefits. The OIG further recommended the director plan to assess the quality of supervisors’ work on processed claims. VA has already acted on the OIG recommendation to determine any appropriate administrative action regarding the supervisor, effectively closing that recommendation.