Despite problems in processing benefits for Gulf War veterans, Lincoln still ranks in top 6 percent of regional offices for Veterans Benefits Administration.
Leaders in the Lincoln Regional Office (RO) gave credit for their success to robust training, a highly skilled workforce, and a unified management team.
The Department of Veterans Affairs OIG just released the results of their spring audit of the Lincoln RO and how it processes disability benefits for veterans. Overall, the staff did not process 13% of all claims properly within the audit’s sampling. Veterans Affairs was pleased with this result because it scored higher than 46 of the 51 regional offices that are part of the VA.
Problems were noted in the RO staff’s processing of entitlements for Gulf War veterans. Normally, these veterans are required by law to be provided with certain mental health treatments. The staff at the Lincoln RO did not inform veterans of these entitlements as required.
The audit also notes that regional office staff did not follow protocol for temporary 100 percent disability evaluations. The problem related to a failure to schedule reexaminations to remove the temporary award. This oversight resulted in an overpayment of $17,000 to one veteran over 6 months.
Highlights were the Lincoln RO’s processing of traumatic brain injury and herbicide exposure type claims. The Lincoln RO staff was also effective in their communication and outreach with homeless shelters and service providers working in the community, along with advocacy groups.