APNewsBreak: Audit finds spending waste, mishandling of veterans claims; seeks broad changes

A new government audit says misguided policies, unreasonable workloads and poor leadership at the Veterans Affairs Department are to blame for mismanagement of disability and pension claims in Philadelphia.

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The VA inspector general's blistering 78-page report, which was obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, takes aim at the department's handling and payment of compensation claims.

It concludes the Philadelphia regional office was especially troublesome in its litany of problems. Those include piles of mishandled mail, untimely responses to more than 31,000 veterans inquiries into its call center, manipulation of dates to make old claims look new and millions of dollars in improper duplicate benefit payments.

Still, the audit stops short in identifying specific culprits, calling on the VA to determine who should be held responsible.