An estimated 2,300 veterans who received money from the Veterans Affairs Department to be full-time students were in fact not attending school full-time, the department's office of inspector general says. Those improper payments may have cost the department $12 million, the OIG says in a report dated Sept. 17.
Veterans Affairs Department offices can't skirt around the requirement to use the Program Management Accountability System developed by the VA Office of Information & Technology just because an information technology project isn't funded by OI&T, the department office of inspector general says.
The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, which began in 2012, offers assistance to unemployed veterans between the ages of 35 and 60 to attend a community college or technical school and learn new, in-demand skills. Under the 2011 law (.pdf) that created the program, VA can't accept applications after Oct. 1, and the program is set to end March 31, 2014.
An increase in Fully Developed Claims, an optional program whereby veterans, servicemembers and survivors submit all relevant records at once to expedite processing, is critical in helping the Veterans Affairs Department meet its benefit backlog goal, said Tom Murphy, director of the compensation service at the Veterans Benefits Administration.
The Veterans Affairs Department regional director responsible for the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System, where several veterans died in a preventable infectious disease outbreak, said Sept. 9 he would not return a major award he received from the White House.
The Veterans Benefits Administration delayed by 15 months pension adjustments for 93,000 veterans in fiscal 2012 because of increased workload, a Sept. 4 Veterans Affairs inspector general report (.pdf) says.
The Veterans Affairs Department Office of General Counsel is not properly accrediting personnel whose job it is to help veterans or their family members file claims for VA benefits, says the Government Accountability Office report (.pdf)
Same-sex married couples can now file joint federal tax returns and receive the same tax benefits as married heterosexual couples, an Aug. 29 Treasury Department statement says. But veterans in same-same marriages currently can't get retirement benefits and Veterans Affairs Department will need to consider policy changes, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki wrote in an Aug. 14 letter (.pdf).
Doctors working for the Veterans Affairs Department received bonuses despite having action taken against them for poor performance, a recently released July 24 Government Accountability Office report (.pdf) says.
The Postal Service awarded Aug. 20 a $15 million contract to stand up a Federal Cloud Credential Exchange. The one-year pilot will create an authentication infrastructure that enables individuals to securely access online services at multiple federal agencies.