According to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Inspector General, the VA has been underpaying and overpaying veterans who suffer from ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ALS is an incurable neurological disease made famous by the New York Yankees baseball player, Lou Gehrig, who died from it in 1941. ALS typically causes death within three to five years of the onset of symptoms.
The VA Inspector General, Michael Missal, found that, for unknown reasons, veterans who suffer from ALS are at “high risk” for improper payments.
Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) staff made a total of 71 errors in 45 out of 100 cases of ALS that the IG’s office examined from April through September of 2017. Based on this data, the IG’s office projected that 430 of the 960 total ALS veteran cases in the system completed during their examination had erroneous decisions.
The report observed that improper payments were made to almost 230 of the 430 veterans, which resulted in underpayments of approximately $750,000 and overpayments of approximately $649,000.
The IG’s office projected the current error rate over the next five years and stated that “the VBA would make $7.5 million in underpayments and $6.5 million in overpayments for a total of $14 million in improper payments.”