Veterans and beneficiaries received $4.5 million in benefits overpayments in 2017, and as much as $22.5 million in “improper payments” during a five-year period, according to a report by the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General.
The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) generated the improper payments of Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA) benefits because of several reasons, the IG reported.
“Causes include the lack of management over the electronic mailboxes at the regional and national levels, an ineffective notification process, and the lack of system functionality to flag cases with duplication of benefits,” the IG stated.
Workload distribution rules also contributed to the mistake. The IG recommended that VBA do a better job of monitoring its electronic mailboxes, adjusting compensation in a timelier manner, identifying duplication of benefits, processing adjustments as soon as possible, and take quick action in cases where duplications have not been identified.