A recent GAO audit found numerous gaps in the new National Work Queue system rolled out by VA to address inefficiencies at certain regional offices in Veterans Benefits Administration.

According to the report:

In 2016, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) centralized distribution of the disability compensation claims workload through the National Work Queue, which prioritizes and distributes claims to regional offices based on their capacity; however, there are gaps in VBA’s guidance for processing claims with errors. Under the National Work Queue, multiple regional offices can work on a single claim instead of the claim remaining at one office for the duration of processing (see figure). GAO found gaps in guidance about whether a claims processor should fix an error made by another regional office, or return the claim to that office to be corrected. The former could result in missed opportunities to train staff who made the error, while the latter could result in processing delays.

VBA primarily uses timeliness and accuracy measures to assess its regional offices’ performance in processing disability compensation claims, but these measures do not adequately capture performance. The timeliness measure can be skewed because it is a snapshot of how long claims have been pending at an office on the last day of the month, and does not capture performance over a period of time. The accuracy measure is attributed to the office that finishes the claim, even though 88 percent of claims completed in fiscal year 2017 were processed at more than one office. VBA officials acknowledged that these measures are limited and said the agency is exploring alternatives, but VBA has no specific plan or time frame for determining and implementing new measures. Without measures to more accurately assess regional office performance, VBA may be limited in its ability to make efficient and effective decisions.

Veterans service organizations (VSO) and staff working for Members of Congress (congressional caseworkers) interviewed by GAO were generally satisfied with regional office communication regarding disability compensation claims. However, VBA’s policy on whom VSOs should contact during different points in the process did not always align with what occurs at the offices we visited or with VSO needs. This could result in VSOs not receiving consistent and timely responses from VBA. Evaluating this policy could help VBA assist VSOs in better serving veterans. In addition, congressional caseworkers GAO interviewed identified ways that communication could be improved or that additional support could be provided, such as a list of contacts at all regional offices for claim inquiries. VBA officials GAO interviewed described an open-door policy through which they may receive feedback from caseworkers, but the agency does not formally solicit periodic feedback from them. Without such feedback, the agency may miss opportunities to identify and address caseworker communication needs that could help them better serve veterans.

Stay informed on VA news, scandals and benefits. Get our daily newsletter via email.

17343

DisabledVeterans.org

Get our free daily newsletter.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Former Veterans Affairs police officer, brother plead guilty to stealing more than $100K from the V.A.
    Brian Entin | Daniel Cohen, WSVN News 7 Miami, 10/10/18

    “(WSVN) – A former Veterans Affairs police officer and his brother are now admitting they took more than $100,000 from the VA. It was money for patients he was sworn to protect. 7’s Brian Entin investigates.”

    “Barros is pleading guilty to stealing $116,590 from the V.A.

    Brian Entin: “Mr. Barros, is there anything you want to say to the veterans who needed that money?”

    Adolfo Barros: “No, I don’t. Talk to my attorney.”

    We first confronted Barros after his arrest this summer.

    He was working as a federal special agent investigating fraud. But now, he is the one admitting to stealing and also lying about a traumatic brain injury.

    Barros said he suffered a concussion during missile attacks on the USS Ashland in 2005.

    The former Marine served on the ship as a cook, but the ship was never hit by a missile.

    Prosecutors say Barros submitted a “false and fraudulent” medical record to back up his claim for disability benefits.

    Brian Entin: “The Feds say you claimed you were injured, but that you weren’t. And you scammed the system?”

    Adolfo Barros: “No comment.”

    U.S. Marshals arrested Barros’ brother, Daniel, when he landed at MIA after a European vacation.

    He is also pleading guilty to stealing from the government.

    Investigators say Adolfo signed Daniel up to be his paid caregiver. And for two years, they stole money intended for injured veterans and their families.

    Daniel is no stranger to the law. He’s a registered sex offender and was arrested in 2011 after he impersonated a police officer and tried pulling a woman over.

    He was driving a BMW equipped with lights and sirens.

    Police say he was using his brother’s police credentials.

    Now the Barros brothers could face 10 years in federal prison for stealing from the V.A. Their sentencing is set for December.”

    More At: https://wsvn.com/news/investigations/former-veterans-affairs-police-officer-brother-plead-guilty-to-stealing-more-than-100k-from-the-v-a/

    • It’s criminals like these reprobates, which could very well be the reason why I went 23 years, from 1982 till 2005, without a correct adjudication on my claims.
      (The VA said, how could I have been in Vietnam, if I was never in the Army! Yet, the VA had been given my two Army DD-214’s in the early 1970’s! And, the VA had been given my complete Army medical records, showing my injuries sustained in 1968!)

      If y’all are wondering, Yes, I’m STILL pissed off about this FUBAR!

      • Precisely! I hope this asshole Barros receives the maximum punishment under the law. There is NO EXCUSE either for his criminal behavior, or the damage he has caused to other honest veterans – – – many of whom will find it harder to have their claims adjudicated correctly.

        I would choke (or die trying) the fuck out of this shitbird were he standing in front of me now.

      • One incident like that exceeds the healing power of many Mental Health Specialists at the VA. A judge that REALLY understood . . .

    • Throw the book at these 2 scum bags. There are bad examples of poor behavior and lack of credibility among veterans. This scumbag is a perfect example of one!

  2. Delay, Deny, LIE, and wait for us all to Die…while creating a never-ending gobstopper of a gov’t welfare works program for AFGE slugs and lamprey…all for the fucking vets…r-r-right!

    May the crab lice of 10,000 prostitutes infest this Borros while another 10,000 prostitutes worth of syphilis makes his brain pop like a giant zit while receiving some award from funny hatter VSO group for all Borros has done to…assist…Vets to their early graves…then let Satan have a go at him for eternity as his hell butt buddy in ‘the ring of fire, it burns, burns, burns…”- J.Cash

  3. Also…WHO GAVE THE VSO’s the authority to represent ALL OF US?

    I think this dramatically needs to change with the times and VSO’s need to go way of dinosaurs…but it did take a massive meteor striking earth to make them extinct, thinking same be required with the VSO collective of funny hatters.

    Really…WHY ARE THEY RELEVANT??? THEY ARE NOT…HELPING…real Vets!

  4. “https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/veterans-are-sleeping-in-their-cars-at-va-medical-centers/ar-BBObA3V”

    How is this for a plan? Get me a “weekender camping van”, a shotgun, and two pit bulls for security and companionship. Since the VA is so stellar at properly taking care of me, I’ll just camp out in their lot.

    For the VA Schedulers – – – it should then be much easier for you to get a hold of me when there is a last minute change to an appointment.

    AND those VA employees that are always worried about my “safety” should have zero problem locating me 24/7.

  5. My pending appeal from November of 2010 was delayed so long that a new set of C & P examinations was done on June 4, 2015. This article explains why the June 24, 2015 Rating Decision didn’t include the June 4, 2015 exams in the Evidence Considered or include them in the documents sent to my Attorney or list them in the Statement of the Case that went to the BVA and my Attorney.

    I have a hearing on Monday, Oct 15 regarding my RBA Dispute at the Court of Appeals for Veteran’s Claims (CAVC). I’ll bring this up for my Dental CUE by both because the C & P was missing from both and not considered but is in the RBA indicating the BVA Judge had it.

  6. We all have many experiences when dealing with the VA which can leaves us angry and frustrated. I know I have had my share. But with today’s posting I am happy to read that there are checks and balances put in place such as the GOI audit. We have to remind ourselves that the governement and specificallly the DOD is a HUGE operation. Not an easy task to manage. Hell I have difficult negotiating dinner choices with other family members let alone trying to manage an agency of this magnitude with all the different personality some stable and obviously, some not so much. With that being said, keep up the good work after all democracy is a process that allows us to participate and to improve and hone our government. Hurray for the United States and all of its brave souls who live there.

    Godspeed

    TLC

  7. Been waiting to be dispatched to hell by va to join how many other fellow veterans. The va needs to die lrt dod handle everything
    #deathtova

  8. The National Queue is a redundant and inefficient waste of time. The VA came after me when I reported it years ago and no change except for me being fired.

    The NQ also allows for violations of privacy. Ex VA and/or federal employees are entitled to have their records handled only by VA personnel with a certain security level for a certain time after departing federal service and/or the VA (like three years).

    Back in the day, with hard copy files, your file was moved to another VA than the one you work for. In my case should have been St. Paul, MN.

    But nooo, with digitalization TWICE (2017 and recently) Atlanta received my claims for processing!!!!!!!!!!!

    Worse, when you call the VA 1800 number and they say they will contact the regional office handling my claim, they keep on saying they will send the inquiry to ATLANTA – NOT ST. PAUL!!!!! So what is the use of me being transferred to a special line because when I give them my SSN, they are gonna place an inquiry to ATLANTA?????!!!????

    With the recent violation of privacy, I was told a bunch of excuses and lies – ranging from St. Paul had my claims from day one; that it didn’t matter if Atlanta developed my claim because eventually it would go to St. Paul; that Atlanta has the right to access my claim because I live in Georgia; and, that with the National Queue, your claim has the right to be sent ANYWHERE there is people available to work it.

    Mind you, the VA refuses to respond to my FOIA/PA for records of who accessed my records.

    I am so mad I can’t see straight.

  9. Employees speaking about their job’s to management. Many employees have done this and retaliation begins.

    How dare you question us !

    Make a suggestion ! Your a whistleblower, attack. Employees have said over and over they are afraid of management.

Comments are closed.