Veterans' Compensation:

Premature Closing of VA Office in the Philippines Could Be Costly

HRD-93-96: Published: Jul 15, 1993. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO assessed the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) disability compensation and survivor benefit programs in the Philippines.

GAO found that: (1) VA compensation payments totalled $50.6 million in 1985, $38.4 million in 1988, and $50.9 million in 1992; (2) the number of Filipino beneficiaries has declined by 23 percent since 1985; (3) the average compensation payment made to Filipino beneficiaries in 1991 was 200 percent of the Philippine median family income; and (4) premature closure of the VA Manila office could hamper the detection of fraudulent activities resulting in increased program costs, increased personnel costs, and an adverse effect on services to beneficiaries.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Legislation (P.L. 103-446) extended the Office through 1999.

    Matter: Because program costs remain high as does a vast potential for fraudulent activities in the Philippines, Congress should extend the legislation authorizing the Manila office until the Secretary of Veterans Affairs can demonstrate that: (1) VA can maintain proper internal controls of benefit payments after the office is closed; (2) other advantages of closure outweigh the higher administrative costs in the United States; and (3) VA can maintain adequate services to beneficiaries from the United States.

 

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