In rush to cut benefits backlog, VA made errors

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WASHINGTON (AP) — An internal watchdog says that in its rush to cut a huge backlog of claims for disability benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs has a high error rate that results in payments to many veterans who lack adequate medical evidence of a disability.

A report by the VA's Office of Inspector General says tens of thousands of veterans are improperly receiving benefits that are not supported by medical evidence. The report says the agency is on track to make unsupported payments to veterans totaling about $371 million over the next five years.

The inspector general also found widespread problems at VA regional offices in Philadelphia and Baltimore.

The VA said it has cut in half a backlog that reached about 611,000 in early 2013. The backlog is now about 275,000.

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