Federal Manager's Daily Report

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An inspector general audit has found that incorrect information and breakdowns and lack of internal communication within VA leading to improper disability and pension payments to deceased veterans.

In one sample, auditors determined that the Veterans Benefits Administration was unaware that its automated system had failed to complete a match with death records from the SSA in 2020, leading to improper payments in 43 cases—29 of which continued for seven months until the IG discovered them. “System failures such as these increase the risk that VBA will fail to promptly stop payments because the match includes only those deaths reported to the SSA since the last match,” the report said.

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In a second sample of 140 judgmentally selected veterans, auditors found that 87 had incorrect Social Security numbers in the VBA system. “Without accurate data, the death match process cannot operate as intended and VBA will continue to pay compensation or pension benefits to veterans after their deaths,” it said.

In a third sample, auditors “determined that VBA could have minimized improper compensation or pension payments to deceased veterans if death notification data had been obtained from the Veterans Health Administration” which keeps separate records of deaths for health benefits purposes.

It said management concurred with its recommendations and provided corrective action plans for each.

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