Veterans' Benefits:

VA Can Prevent Millions in Compensation and Pension Overpayments

HEHS-95-88: Published: Apr 28, 1995. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 1995.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Stephen P. Backhus
(202) 512-7111
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) efforts to prevent, detect, and recover compensation and pension overpayments.

GAO found that: (1) in 1994, VA detected about $372 million in overpayments to its beneficiaries mainly due to changes in income, particularly changes related to social security benefits; (2) although VA recovers about 30 percent of its overpayments, its outstanding overpayment balance was about $618 million in 1994; (3) many beneficiaries do not have the resources to repay the overpayments; (4) although VA has the capability to prevent many overpayments, it has not focused on overpayment prevention; (5) VA needs to better coordinate its beneficiary information with that of the Social Security Administration; and (6) VA does not systematically collect, analyze, and use information on the specific causes of overpayments to target its preventive efforts.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: VA installed programming changes that will change the issuance date of letters to beneficiaries with income-related benefits to 2 months before they become age 60, 62, or 65, as appropriate. GAO estimated that VA could have prevented as much as $52 million of overpayments in 1994 by establishing such procedures. However, VA could not determine or reliably estimate the actual dollar amounts to be saved in subsequent years.

    Recommendation: To better prevent compensation and pension overpayments, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Benefits to establish procedures that focus on preventing overpayments that include identifying beneficiaries who will soon become eligible for social security benefits and obtaining the necessary information to timely adjust their benefit payments.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to VA, it has plans to update its computer system as part of its modernization effort to improve, among other things, the identification of the causes of overpayments. The modernization effort is part of an overall VBA business process reengineering effort, which will take several years to implement. VA has closed this recommendation and is no longer tracking it.

    Recommendation: To better prevent compensation and pension overpayments, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Benefits to collect, analyze, and use information on the specific causes or contributing factors of overpayments to develop strategies for targeting additional preventive efforts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Oct 30, 2014

Oct 22, 2014

Jul 29, 2014

Jul 28, 2014

Jul 7, 2014

Jun 16, 2014

May 27, 2014

Apr 21, 2014

Mar 5, 2014

Looking for more? Browse all our products here