The United States Department of Veteran's Administration (VA) falls prey to those who employ fraud just as easily as any other agency. And because funding comes from the taxable income of working Americans, waste and abuse within the Veteran's Administration hurts honest citizens. There is a way to fight the criminals who cheat the VA system. Simply contact the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Hotline in Washington D.C.
Compile information. Prepare to make your claim by finding out if the VA facility disbursing the benefits is regional, state or federal. Make sure you have the names of all wrongdoers, victims or witnesses, the date of the event, and the names of people or agencies that may have already investigated the incident. Know the nature of the fraud or waste, and the effects of that activity in terms of lost time or misappropriated funds. Gather evidence if possible.
Decide if you want to remain anonymous, or if you are willing to provide full contact information. If your allegation seems vague and the OIG has no way to contact you to clarify details, they will drop the case.
E-mail the VA's OIG at firstname.lastname@example.org, call the Hotline toll free at (800) 488-8244, or send a letter to VA Inspector General Hotline (53E), P.O. Box 50410, Washington, D.C. 20091-0410. Provide all of the information you gathered in the first step.
Prepare to respond if necessary. The VA's OIG will evaluate your claim and either contact you for more information or proceed to investigate. If another agency is involved, the OIG will refer the case to that entity. If the VA only is involved, the OIG will open a Hotline file and the case will be investigated by the Office of Audit, the Office of Healthcare Inspections, the Office of Investigations or the Office of Management and Administration--all divisions within the VA. These divisions have 60 days to independently investigate and respond to the OIG.
- False allegations may lead to criminal charges. Some incidents of fraud or abuse can be difficult to prove, especially in cases of physical or mental damages. Proceed with caution when making a claim pertaining to medical benefits. Back injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other conditions can produce negative effects apparent only to the veteran or the veteran's physician.
- Be clear and concise. Provide all relevant information and evidence without coloring your statement with emotions or irrelevant opinions.