Report 2009-108 Recommendations and Responses in 2013-041

Report 2009-108: California Department of Veterans Affairs: Although It Has Begun to Increase Its Outreach Efforts and to Coordinate With Other Entities, It Needs to Improve Its Strategic Planning Process, and Its CalVet Home Loan Program Is Not Designed to Address the Housing Needs of Some Veterans

Department Number of Years Reported As Not Fully Implemented Total Recommendations to Department Not Implemented After One Year Not Implemented as of 2012-041 Response Not Implemented as of Most Recent Response
California Department of Veterans Affairs 4 14 5 4 0

Recommendation To: Veterans Affairs, Department of

In order to attract more veterans to the CalVet program, the department should continue working with the Federal Housing Administration and the Ginnie Mae to lower its interest rates on loans.

Response

Dept Response: CalVet has successfully completed the restructuring of our outstanding Farm and Home bonds that have enabled us to adjust our interest rates. As such, CalVet's rate is extremely competitive with the commercial market and loan production is up 100% as compared to the same time last year. Further, as we stated before the recommendation is not feasible to implement because FHA will not accept the use of our land sales contract in conjunction with FHA insured mortgage financings and in fact has twice denied our request to for approval.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: July 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Veterans Affairs, Department of

To ensure that it has the information necessary to track progress in increasing veterans' participation in C&P benefits, and to identify where and how best to focus its outreach and coordination efforts, Veterans Services should require the CVSOs to submit information on the number of claims filed for C&P benefits and information on their outreach activities.

Response

CalVet has fully implemented the Subvention Accounting Information System (SAIS) to address this recommendation. All 56 counties with County Veteran Service Offices and the three Veteran Services Division District Offices have converted to SAIS.

The SAIS gives CalVet the ability to expand its supervision of the claim activity down to the individual veteran representative filing the claim. CalVet is able to identify the quantity, quality and success rate of the claims being filed at the county level. This also allows CalVet to influence the quality of the claims and track outreach activities. In addition, this automated process will allow both CalVet and the counties to implement new changes from the VA systematically, which will reduce the training and lag time in getting these changes to the field. CalVet is also able to track the number of workload activities reported by each CVSO to provide a metric to track progress in increasing veterans' participation in C&P benefits.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: April 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Veterans Affairs, Department of

As Veterans Services expands its efforts to increase veterans' participation in C&P benefits, it should use veterans' demographic information, such as that available through the U.S. Census Bureau, and the information it plans to obtain from the CVSOs using its SAIM system, to focus its outreach and coordination efforts on those counties with the highest potential for increasing the State's rate of participation in C&P benefits.

Response

At the time the report was written, CalVet was anticipating expansion of resources available for outreach and the report's recommendation was reasonably implementable. In fact, immediately following publication of the report CalVet had budget change proposals approved by the Legislature which include new outreach funding. That new funding was to be distributed under a grant structure with criteria that fully implemented this recommendation. Since that time CalVet's funding for outreach was eliminated due to the State's budget crisis.

Recognizing that we must continue to perform the outreach mission despite the cuts in dedicated resources, CalVet is implementing technology efforts that are intended to supplement resource intensive outreach efforts. These technology based efforts are implemented without geographic constraints. The two major efforts are deployment of smart phone mobile applications (apps) and establishing a one-stop, veteran centric portal (CalVet Connect).

While CalVet is continuing efforts to expand outreach services throughout the state, no new resources have been allocated to-date. The recommendation remains valid in the context of obtaining and allocating future new resources to fulfill the need to increase outreach to veterans using veteran demographic information and the SAIS system. CalVet will implement it when those new resources become available; unfortunately, it is unknown when we will be obtaining new resources

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: October 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Veterans Affairs, Department of

Veterans Services should continue its efforts to pursue the SAIM system to enable it to monitor the quantity and quality of claims processed by the CVSOs, and ensure it meets legal requirements regarding auditing CVSO workload reports and verifying the appropriateness of college fee waivers. To the extent that Veterans Services is unsuccessful in implementing the SAIM system, the department will need to develop other avenues by which to meet its legal requirements.

Response

(Note: While the BSA Report refers to this project as the SAIM, the official project title in the final FSR was revised to the Subvention Administration Information System (SAIS). To ensure consistency with other documents on the project the Department will only be referring to this project by the official title submitted in the FSR/RER)

CalVet completed the sponsored deployment of the Subvention Accounting Information System (SAIS) by arranging through the budget process for funding to offset most of the counties' implementation costs. CalVet also obtained the funding authority to offset participating counties' costs for ongoing operations and maintenance.

CalVet is now able to remotely perform audit functions for the counties that have implemented SAIS and is enhancing its audit capabilities by customizing logical functions in VetProWeb to provide additional automated reports to specifically identify workload reporting errors including duplicative college fee waiver issues. Additionally, because VetProWeb supports paperless claim files CalVet is now able to perform detailed review of case files in support of its audit functions.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: March 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

Current Status of Recommendations

All Recommendations in 2013-041