|Title:||The Compensation Service Could Better Use Special-Focused Reviews to Improve Claims Processing|
|VA Office:||Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
|Report Author:||Office of Audits and Evaluations
Given the importance of accurately and consistently deciding veterans’ claims for disability benefits, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) includes in its quality assurance efforts special-focused reviews that target specific topic areas, such as military sexual trauma. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) reviewed VBA’s design and implementation of its special-focused review process, including applying Government Accountability Office (GAO) standards. The OIG team assessed 10 special-focused reviews completed from January 2019 through April 2021 and identified weaknesses in all five of GAO’s internal control components. The OIG also found the VBA Compensation Service’s standard operating procedure related to these special-focused reviews does not provide sufficient guidance to fully support disability claims-processing improvement. For example, the procedure does not specify that final reports flowing from special-focused reviews must discuss the causes for errors. Without this “root cause” information, leaders are not well-positioned to reduce the risk of continued errors or deficiencies.