Veterans

May 1, 2013

VA withholds disability claims executives’ bonuses

The Department of Veterans Affairs is withholding bonuses for senior officials who oversee disability claims, citing a failure to meet performance goals for reducing a sizable backlog in claims processing.

The backlog has increased dramatically over the past three years, and the department has come under intense criticism from veterans groups and members of Congress who have asked President Barack Obama to try to speed the process.

VA spokesman Josh Taylor said April 29 the savings would be used to help reduce the backlog. He didn’t provide specifics, nor could he say how many people would be affected or how much the savings would be. The withholdings apply only to Veterans Benefits Administration executives.

“We remain confident that VBA senior executives are dedicated to our nation’s veterans, and they will continue to lead our drive toward VA’s goal: eliminating the claims backlog in 2015,” Taylor said.

In all, records show the department paid its senior executives a total of $2.8 million in bonuses in fiscal year 2011. Three staff members received the top payment of $23,091 each.

The amount of the bonuses was first reported by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

The number of disability claims pending for longer than 125 days jumped from less than 200,000 to nearly 500,000 in fiscal 2011.

“How does the department expect to turn things around when it is rewarding employees and managers for falling behind?” said Rep. Jeff Miller, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

The VA and other federal departments routinely give bonuses to Senior Executive Service workers and other non-political employees. The Office of Personnel Management put new limits into place in June 2011. The VA’s total spending for executives bonuses reflected those restrictions and dropped about 25 percent that year.

Miller said he was pleased the bonuses were halted.

“One can only wonder what effect this sort of policy may have had if VA had instituted it years ago,” he said.

Political appointees such as Allison Hickey, who oversees the Veterans Benefits Administration, are not offered the bonuses.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 28, 2014

News: U.S. has lost track of weapons given to Afghanistan - The United States supplied almost three quarter of a million weapons to Afghanistan’s army and police since 2004, but the military cannot track where many of those arms have gone, a new report found. Bill to improve VA has $17 billion price tag - A bipartisan...
 
 

News Briefs July 28, 2014

Marines seek authorization for dolphin deaths The Marine Corps is asking for a five-year authorization from the National Marine Fisheries Service for incidental deaths of bottlenose dolphins during training exercises at a bombing and target range. The Sun Journal of New Bern, N.C., reports that Connie Barclay of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says...
 
 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Senior leaders explain Army’s drawdown plan

Army photograph by David Vergun No commander is happy when notified that a soldier from his or her command has been identified for early separation. But commanders personally notify those Soldiers and ensure participation in th...
 

 

Northrop Grumman awarded mission support services contract

The U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, with a potential value of $205 million, to continue providing mission logistics services in support of combat brigades training at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. The contract covers one base year and two one-year options. Support will include the full range of mission...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom

F-35 Rollout Marks U.S.-Australia Partnership Milestone

Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown delivers his remarks at the roll out ceremony for Australia’s first F-35. The official rollout of the first two F-35 Lightning II...
 
 
NASA/JPL-Caltech image

NASA’s Mars spacecraft maneuvers to prepare for close comet flyby

NASA/JPL-Caltech image This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it swings around the sun in 2014. On Oct. 19, the comet will have a very close pass at Mars. Its nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 m...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>