The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was found to have made thousands of dollars in duplicate payments in pensions and benefits. Although further analysis has been conducted, it seems as though there is little being done in the way of correcting the discrepancies.
According to The New York Times, Kristen Ruell was working in the Philadelphia-based office of the department's pension management center in 2010 when she noticed that the system was attempting to give duplicate payments to the widow of a veteran. Ruell decided to review other claims and discovered the same problem. She was concerned that the department had been overpaying recipients for many years, and brought the duplicate payments to the attention of her superiors. However, the source states, nothing has been done to fix the discrepancies.
Another employee of the same office, Ryan Cease, told the newspaper that he has found more than 1,200 duplicate records, which has led to the overpayments. He suggested to department officials that a special team be created to deal with and correct the problems, but he said that no action has been taken. The Department of Veterans Affairs has stated that instances of duplicate payments is extremely rare, and that their system is effective at recognizing and fixing errors.
Although the discrepancies were first discovered two years ago, the issue is just now garnering attention, reports the Times. The Office of Inspector General within the department has started an investigation. Additionally, Pennsylvania lawmakers are asking that documentation of the duplicate payments be produced soon.
According to Reason.com, the Department of Veterans Affairs pays out more than $4 billion each year to recipients. The blog states that the fact that officials are not more concerned about the duplicate payments, which are done with taxpayers' money, is disturbing. While the exact amount of overpayments is not yet known, steps need to be taken to correct the situation and implement a system to ensure it doesn't happen again.