The Philadelphia VA announced a new incentive program earlier this month that rewards employees with cash and food for deciding cases quickly — a move that some employees say will encourage staff to rush claims and reject deserving applicants, once again leaving veterans struggling for benefits.
The new Philadelphia program is designed to push employees to clear a backlog in disability claims. The team that has processed the most claims at the end of every other week will receive a breakfast, luncheon or snack as a reward, according to an incentive fact sheet obtained by The Washington Times. Each team that hits its target of claims processed before Feb. 28 will receive a $15,000 bonus to be divided among team members.
A House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs staffer said it’s unclear why the VA would create a separate bonus system on top of the hundreds of millions awarded annually in employee bonuses.