U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Undersecretary for Benefits, Dr. Paul R. Lawrence, reported on his organization’s performance for the third quarter of fiscal year 2019 in a livestream broadcast today.
The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) provides disability, education, and other forms of benefits earned through military service.
“Being open and transparent about how VBA measures up against its quarterly targets continues to build trust between VA and those we are dedicated to serving,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilke. “VA’s Benefits Administration lays it all on the table, highlighting the organization’s accomplishments, opportunities for improvement and plans for ongoing initiatives.”
VBA met or exceeded this quarter’s targets in the majority of its business lines. In the last eight weeks of the quarter, VBA completed more than 261,000 disability compensation claims, which is above the eight-week cumulative target of 255,000. For the entire quarter, VBA completed nearly 351,000 of these claims exceeding their target of 335,000. This was done in an average of 105 days, which is above the longstanding goal of 125 days to complete these claims.
VBA also exceeded targets for completing claims in Veterans Pension, the number of field examinations conducted in the Fiduciary Program and the timeliness of processing original education claims. Additionally, the Insurance Program exceeded its goal to locate beneficiaries upon an insured Veteran’s passing.
Dr. Lawrence recognized that some quarterly results did not make the targets. Although VBA completed 57% more Dependency and Indemnity Compensation claims this quarter than last, it did not meet its target for number of claims processed or average days to process claims. Lawrence assured viewers that VBA is actively looking for opportunities to streamline its processes to meet these targets.
Dr. Lawrence also addressed the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, touching on key aspects of the law and outlining what VA is doing to speed claims from Vietnam Veterans. Later in the webcast Willie Clark, deputy under secretary for Field Operations, reported on a performance challenge posed this summer to VBA’s claims processing teams. Jeffrey London, executive director of Loan Guaranty Service, described VBA’s Home Loan Funding Fee Refund Initiative. Dr. Lawrence concluded the broadcast by fielding questions from representatives of two key Veterans Service Organizations; The American Legion and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
To watch the entire webcast, visit www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/stakeholder.asp.
For more information regarding VA’s benefit programs, visit www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/