Veterans Administration Can Reduce the Time Required To Process Veterans' and Survivors' Initial Claims for Benefits

HRD-79-25: Published: Dec 27, 1978. Publicly Released: Jan 26, 1979.

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As a result of a congressional request, the Veterans Administration (VA) is seeking ways to improve its claims processing system for compensation and death benefits. In conjunction with a GAO review, a VA task force studied existing bottlenecks in the claims process, one being the VA medical facilities' untimely processing of physical examinations of claimants for disability benefits. Through computer-based systems, VA should increase its capacity to respond to claimant's needs.

Many VA problems center at the regional office level. VA will soon initiate its Target System, a computerized system to expedite the transfer of information on a claimant's health, income, and benefit status from the regional office level to the administrative levels of VA. This system should help minimize the number of piecemeal requests for information and help alleviate the present problem of backlogged work. These changes, if tied together by consistent management at the regional office level, should make the processing task more efficient and responsive.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of Veterans Affairs should direct the Chief Benefits Director to issue appropriate instructions to the VA regional offices to ensure that adequate supervisory controls are exercised so that needed evidence for developing claims is requested promptly, piecemeal requests for information are minimized, and backlog work is reassigned when possible. An aggressive follow-up procedure is also needed on requests for information on claimants from VA medical facilities. Further, the goals for the Target System should be evaluated and pursued as VA gains experience in using the claims processing system.

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