Almost half of veterans submitting healthcare claims for ALS through the Department of Veterans Affairs received the wrong benefits during part of 2017, an investigation found.
VA Inspector General Michael Missal released the findings of his investigation Tuesday, and they point to several problems for the agency that has been bogged down with controversies in recent years.
"The OIG found that [the Veterans Benefits Administration's] claims processing involving service-connected ALS needs improvement," the report's summary reads. "About 45 percent of ALS claims completed from April through September 2017 had erroneous decisions.
"These errors resulted in estimated underpayments of about $750,000 and overpayments of about $649,000 to a total of 230 veterans. These errors were due to the complexity of these claims. . . . Also, the OIG determined that VBA staff generally did not tell veterans about additional SMC benefits that may be available.
"Without information about SMC benefits, veterans with ALS may not know about benefits available to them, or they may not be sure they are receiving the correct SMC benefits."
Looking at the numbers more closely, 430 of the 960 claims that were investigated had problems of some sort. The issues involved the VA either paying not enough money to veterans suffering from the disease, which was mostly the case, or doling out too much.
According to The Washington Post, veterans with ALS can receive financial benefits of anywhere from $36,000 to $100,000 per year.
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