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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

VA overpaid disabled vets by up to $1.1B

If you have a VA claim for something that will not get better, like an amputation, then you'll receive a "permanent and total" disability rating.
VA overpaid disabled vets by up to $1.1B
Army Times
By Rick Maze
Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Feb 5, 2013

In a reversal of normal complaints about the Veterans Affairs Department being too slow to pay disabled veterans, a House subcommittee is investigating overpayments to veterans who were temporarily rated 100 percent disabled but were not reevaluated to see if their conditions improved.

The loss to the government could be as much as $1.1 billion, according to VA auditors, who estimate the 27,500 veterans were not properly re-evaluated.

Rep. Jon Runyan, R-N.J., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee’s disability assistance panel, said the “unacceptable” problem needs to be fixed — especially now, when federal spending is tight.

VA policies allow 100 percent disability ratings to be assigned to veterans undergoing surgery or some other treatment that prohibits them from working, making them eligible for disability compensation. When their treatment or recovery period ends, a follow-up medical examination is supposed to be requested to determine if they still have any disability for which they should continue to receive compensation.

Disability pay can be up to $3,214 a month at current rates for a veteran with a 100 percent rating.

The IG found no regional office within VA that fully followed established policies requiring reevaluations. Error rates were as high as 100 percent in Wyoming. The “best” regional offices, in Lincoln, Neb., and Des Moines, had an error rate of 27 percent.
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