Veterans Affairs IG finds 50 percent error rate in some disability claims at Alaska office

Inspectors examined claims at higher risk for processing errors.

During a June 2012 site visit to the Alaska regional office of the Veterans Benefits Administration, inspectors found errors in half of the temporary 100 percent disability claims they examined -- 15 out of 30 cases, the VA inspector general reported today.

The Alaska VBA office also incorrectly processed three traumatic brain injury claims of 18 examined. As a result of all the errors uncovered, the IG determined that VA overpaid some veterans amounts totaling $139,177 and underpaid others by $19,220.

The report said the IG examined claims that had a high risk of processing errors and noted that the findings do not represent the universe of disability claims processed in the Alaska office, which had an overall accuracy rate of 80.5 percent, 6.5 percentage points below VBA’s target of 87 percent.

VA is deploying a paperless claims system nationwide this year to speed up processing, but James Wear, assistant director for veterans benefits policy at the VFW told lawmakers on the House Veterans Affairs Committee last June that with the national average accuracy rate stuck at 16 percent for months, the new system must address longstanding problems.