“We are optimistic that recent efforts to move beyond an outdated, paper-based processing system will help [eliminate] the backlog of undecided claims, but unfortunately, accuracy remains a serious problem,” American Legion national commander Daniel Dellinger told a joint hearing before the House and Senate veterans’ affairs committees.
The VA’s reports place the accuracy rate in the mid-80s, Dellinger noted. But the Legion’s action review teams working with VA regional offices are finding error rates as high as two-thirds, he added.
“That’s unacceptable,” Dellinger said. “And again, we all share in the obligation to correct the problem.”
Legion officials told the lawmakers that the VA work-credit system that rewards claims processors for the number of claims they complete causes some of the accuracy problems.
An employee may not do a thorough job of researching a claim “to make that quota,” said Verna Jones, the Legion’s director of veterans affairs and rehabilitation.
“As is, the work-credit system is counter-productive,” she testified. The Legion recommended overhauling the system.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said he shared “guarded optimism” about the VA’s performance.
“While we’ve seen a steady decline in the backlog, clearly there is much, much more work to do,” Sanders said. “Veterans deserve not only timely but accurate decisions.”