Review of Compensation and Pension Program:

Washington Offices: Veterans Administration, July 1954

B-114859: Published: Jun 4, 1956. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1956.

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The Division of Audits, General Accounting Office, has made a review of the Compensation and Pension Program operations in the Veterans Administration's (VA)Central and Washington Regional Offices pursuant to the provisions of the Budget and Accounting Act, 1921, and the Accounting and Auditing Act, 1950. The review included a study of the legislation, regulations, and operating and procedural instructions pertaining to the Compensation and Pension Program and an examination of representative compensation and pension awards and related financial transactions. The VA was created by Executive Order 5398, as an independent agency in the executive branch of the Government to administer all laws authorizing benefits for former members of the Armed Forces and for dependents of deceased former members of the Armed Forces. Before the creation of the VA, laws relating to veterans had been administered by the Bureau of Pensions, the United States Veterans Bureau, and the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.

This report comments on the findings of our examinations and the corrective actions taken where necessary. Briefly, the examination resulted in awards being increased, reduced, discontinued or suspended in about 1-1/2 percent of the cases examined, in determinations being made of the dependency status of parents of living and of deceased veterans, and in a change in the requirements for reporting income by veterans and dependents of deceased veterans who receive pensions. The review did not disclose any specific pattern of weakness in the compensation and pension adjudication operations. However, it did reveal conditions which, when brought to the attention of the Administration, convinced them of the need to undertake a review in all offices of "static" cases and of those cases where compensation benefit payments are being made because of the dependency of a veteran's parents. As indicated in the comments of the Administrator of Veterans Affairs, submitted with this report, the Administration has now broadened its review of "static" cases to include cases of all veterans under fifty-five years of age who are receiving compensation and pension payments. The Administration's action in promptly initiating these reviews is commendable. An examination, similar in scope to that made by the Division of Audits in Washington Offices, except that it did not include any evaluation of the propriety of the assigned disability ratings, was conducted in thirteen of the Administration's regional offices by our Office of Investigations. The findings generally are of about the same nature and significances as those disclosed by the review in the Washington Offices.

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