Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Letter to Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the U.S. Government Accountability Office - Examining the Department of Veteran Affairs

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, joined with the Committee's Ranking Member, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), in sending a letter to the Comptroller General Gene Dodaro requesting assistance from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in examining the Department of Veterans Affairs' accreditation program. The request stems from issues identified during GAO's recently completed investigation into VA's pension program, which revealed that individuals and companies are using VA accreditation as a way to take advantage of elderly veterans and their families.

"The Government Accountability Office's recent investigation of VA's pension program, conducted at our request, raised some significant concerns regarding VA's accreditation program," the Senators wrote in the letter to GAO. "GAO's final report, Veterans' Pension Benefits, highlighted the fact that some VA accredited individuals may be taking advantage of VA benefits claimants, such as by charging illegal or exorbitant fees, engaging in deceptive marketing practices, or selling unsuitable financial products or services."

The full text of the letters follows:

The Honorable Gene L. Dodaro
Comptroller General
U.S. Government Accountability Office
441 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20548-0001

Dear Mr. Dodaro:

The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Office of the General Counsel provides accreditation to attorneys, claims agents, and representatives of veterans service organizations so they can assist VA benefits claimants with the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of VA claims. To become accredited, an individual must demonstrate a level of proficiency in VA's policies and procedures to be able to provide assistance with VA claims. Also, restrictions exist regarding fees that can be charged by accredited individuals for services associated with VA benefit claims.

The Government Accountability Office's (GAO) recent investigation of VA's pension program, conducted at our request, raised some significant concerns regarding VA's accreditation program. GAO's final report, Veterans' Pension Benefits, highlighted the fact that some VA accredited individuals may be taking advantage of VA benefits claimants, such as by charging illegal or exorbitant fees, engaging in deceptive marketing practices, or selling unsuitable financial products or services.

In light of these concerns, we request the assistance of the GAO in examining the following questions: (1) What are VA's policies and procedures for accrediting and providing oversight, including data collection and analysis, of those individuals? (2) Are there potential vulnerabilities in VA's existing policies and procedures which may allow abuses of the accreditation system? (3) What is the process for suspending or revoking accreditation if abuses are found to have occurred?

We appreciate your attention to this request.


Source:
Skip to top
Back to top