Veterans who attempted to use their GI Bill benefits became quickly associated with the system’s shortcomings. Unprocessed claims lead to veterans never being issued their money, being forced to withdraw from classes, unable to pay rent, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) having to issue emergency checks to cover everything. Cut to a year later, and the VA attempted bring a new automated claims processing system online in hopes to avoid the previous year’s issues. The cost of that system has more than doubled.
The VA’s original cost for the system was $95 million and was supposed to be completed this month. The current cost is estimated at $207.1 million through the fiscal year 2011 and will not be completed this month, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Once completed, the processing system will use a “rules engine software” that guides users through a specific set of computations to establish veterans’ level of entitled aid. The VA built their system in stages by releasing the software in an agile development process. Mere weeks before the 2010 fall semester started, the VA declared enough of the system was completed so that examiners could automatically process claims as opposed to processing them manually, which was one of the big problems with the 2009 semester.
The GAO, however, found many spots where the VA missed critical steps in developing the new system. The new processing system didn’t possess the right software linking the claims to the VA’s legacy financial system, which would generate payments to the veterans. The VA also failed to build a solid web interface in which veterans could track and manage their educational claims.
The web interface will still be designed, but its date has been pushed back several months. The GAO criticized the VA for not setting realistic goals and the VA criticized the GAO for not understanding the VA’s development process. VA representatives referred to their claims processing system as “flawless.”
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.