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.


 
 

 

President proclaims Memorial Day as ‘Day of Prayer’

President Barack Obama May 22 saluted the service and sacrifices of America’s military members–past and present–and proclaimed Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, “as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11 a.m. of that day as a time during which people may unite in prayer....
 
 

Air Force leaders’ Memorial Day message

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III send the following Memorial Day message to the Airmen of the Air Force and their families: To the Airmen of the United States Air Force and their Families: On Memorial Day, Americans pause in solemn remembrance...
 
 

Headlines May 22, 2015

News: Second Marine killed in Hawaii Osprey crash identified - Marine Corps officials have identified the second Marine to die as a result of the May 17 MV-22B Osprey crash as Lance Cpl. Matthew J. Determan of Maricopa, Ariz.   Business: Israel defense exports plunge to seven-year low - Israeli defense sales last year plunged to their...
 

 

News Briefs May 22, 2015

Ukrainian officer hit with third charge in Russia A third charge has been filed against a Ukrainian military officer who has been behind bars in Moscow for nearly a year over the deaths of two Russian journalists in Ukraine. Nadezhda Savchenko, who worked as a spotter for Ukrainian troops fighting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine,...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Smart-mortar will help Soldiers more effectively hit targets

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez Nick Baldwin and Evan Young, researchers with the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania, discuss the 120mm Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar ...
 
 

Air Force assigns new chief scientist

The Air Force announced the service’s new chief scientist to serve as a science and technology adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, May 21. Dr. Greg Zacharias will be the 35th chief scientist and is ready to “dive in” to his new role. “I...
 




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>