The Veterans Affairs Department announced it would mandate overtime for claims processors at its 56 regional offices as a way to reduce the backlog of VA disability claims. The mandate will be implemented through the end of fiscal 2013, a May 15 VA statement said.
One commitment that did not make the cut was ExpertNet, a proposed online community where volunteer experts could give consultations. A single government-wide software platform would face implementation challenges, the report said. Soliciting expert citizen opinions, outside the process of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, is also a culture-change and business process challenge, the report says.
The Veterans Affairs Department has nearly 900,000 pending disability claims, more than 70 percent of which have been pending for more than 125 days, according March 20 testimony before a House Committee. Still, Allison Hickey, under secretary for benefits at VA, said the Veterans Benefits Administration is actually making progress. "VBA employees are completing more compensation claims than ever before in the history of VA," she said.
The report finds that the 152-year old agency faces challenges in dealing with the decline of print and rise of digital publishing, including critical matters such as publishing formats, metadata, authentication, cataloging, dissemination, preservation, public access, and disposition. Publisher of both print and digital editions of the Congressional Record and Federal Register, the GPO also manages the Federal Depository Library Program and provides digital access to federal information through the Federal Digital System.
Despite stark areas of disagreement on the need for additional gun control, Republican senators on Wednesday told their Democrat colleagues that there exists common support for strengthening background checks and making gun trafficking a federal offense.
The Justice Department says Native American tribal criminal justice agencies should receive information about issued firearm permits and licenses and have access to FBI databases for background checks.In a proposed rule change published Jan. 28 in the Federal Register , Justice says tribal agencies that can issue firearm permits and licenses should have the same access that state and local criminal justice agencies have to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The Office of Personnel Management continues to cut into its retirement backlog despite four straight months of receiving more claims than expected. In its most recent report (.pdf) posted Nov. 5, OPM says it processes 4,000 more claims than it received, knocking its backlog down to just above 37,000. The agency has reduced its backlog by more than 39 percent since Jan. 2012 when it had 61,108 claims still to process.
For the upcoming presidential election, voters should head to polling places rather than mailing in absentee ballots since 21 percent of the latter distributed to citizens for the 2008 presidential election were never counted, says a study (.pdf) by Voting Technology Project.
States can't rely on some tools they have to detect food stamp fraud, so officials look into potential fraud on a case-by-case basis, the Agriculture Department office of inspector general says.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has not fully implemented governmentwide records management policies and practices laid out in the White House's records management guidance , according to a Sept. 30 report (.pdf) from the SEC office of inspector general.