The Department of Veterans’ Affairs continues to struggle with scandal and a negative public image as news of the department’s failure to make payments to veterans with injuries, illnesses or disabilities was revealed earlier this month.
According to a July 14 USA Today article, the VA’s Office of the Inspector General revealed in a testimony that last year, the VA managed to reduce its already controversial backlog of delayed veteran disability claims by dramatically overpaying former service members by at least $230 million.
The testimony also describes the “sloppy” and “improper” methods used by the VA to process veterans’ disability claims, USA Today reports, including potentially inflating the success rate of such claims.
“I was surprised by the testimony by the Inspector General,” says Matt Hill, Attorney at Hill and Ponton. “I see disability claims being stamp denied by the Regional Offices because the system is set up to where it is easier to deny the cases than to grant them. This report should have delved into the ‘sloppy’ denials of claims and the money, manpower and anxiety that they caused veterans and tax payers.”
According to a July 15 New Haven Register article, the VA has doled out some $85 million to approximately 3,100 veterans since early 2012 without receiving adequate medical proof that the veterans deserved the benefits.
In her testimony to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Linda Halliday, an assistant inspector general, reported that if this issue goes unresolved, it could cost taxpayers an additional $371 million over the next five years, according to the New Haven Register.
“Improved financial stewardship at the agency is needed,” Halliday testified. “More attention is critical to minimize the financial risk of making inaccurate benefit payments.”