#VAFail – Poor recordkeeping leads to millions in improper payments
The Department of Veterans Affairs and Social Security Administration (SSA) aren’t on the same page when it comes to paying out benefits to deceased veterans, according to a new Inspector General report. $38 million in benefits have been paid out from the SSA to veterans that the VA has recorded as deceased. An additional $7 million is estimated to be paid out if the problems aren’t resolved.
Unsurprisingly, the blame falls on both government agencies – the VA and the Social Security Administration. Sometimes the SSA pays out to those the VA lists as dead, while sometimes the VA lists veterans as dead who’re still alive.
This is not a new transgression from the VA. Last May, the Wall Street Journal reported that thousands of veterans were declared deceased and subsequently had their benefits canceled because of errors and mistakes on the part of the staff.
There’s enough irresponsibility to go around here. First and foremost, the VA needs to have completely accurate records so that living veterans aren’t being cut off from benefits they’ve earned. Second, both the VA and SSA should have accurate records of participants who should no longer be receiving payments. That’s just common sense and a responsible use of money.