Report Cites Florida VA Office for Errors on Veterans’ Disability Claims

Law Firm Newswire



Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) November 5, 2015 – A new report shows that although the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has improved its processing of veterans’ benefits claims overall, the office that processes disability cases for Florida has failed to handle claims properly.

The VA regional office in St. Petersburg, Florida, is either overpaying or shortchanging the state’s veterans in some cases. The St. Petersburg office processes disability claims for all of Florida. The report was part of the inspector general’s ongoing review of regional offices throughout the United States.

“In recent years, the VA has been experiencing high backlogs and error rates. More oversight is needed to ensure the VA processes claims correctly and in a timely manner,” said David Magann, a Florida veterans attorney. “Veterans deserve to be worry-free when it comes to receiving their disability benefits,” said Magann.

The findings reveal that the office inconsistently processed 19 percent of two types of disability claims — 100 percent disability claims and claims for traumatic brain injury. The former is what certain veterans are entitled to after surgery or other treatment. At the end of treatment, however, the VA is supposed to adjust the veteran’s status depending on whether they still qualify for the higher monthly benefit.

The mistakes resulted in 54 improper monthly payments being made to seven veterans, totaling almost $45,000. However, the office said the VA has calculated its accuracy rate to be around 90 percent, which correlates with national averages. Despite the errors, the inspectors noted improvement in claims processing by the office since the last inspection in 2012.

In light of the inspector general’s report, the St. Petersburg office and the VA’s central office said the necessary improvements would be made to its processing system. If veterans were overpaid due to a VA error, they do not have to pay the money back.

“Although the number of errors is not large, the inspector general’s report highlights the ongoing problems with claims processing at the VA. Even with the VA’s recent progress in reducing its backlog, the department still has a long way to go,” said Magann.

Learn more at David W. Magann, P.A. Main Office: 156 West Robertson Street Brandon, FL 33511 Call: (813) 657-9175 Tampa Office: 18715 N Dale Mabry Hwy Lutz, FL 33548