James B. Miller, Jr. Forum News Service
Jul 24, 2018
Most notably, the audit found that the Veteran Aid Loan System was outsourced to a vendor without the department receiving an exemption from the Information Technology Department, meaning that, since 2005, information from veterans including credit history, debt-to-income ratio, discretionary income, spousal income, discharge information and more were hosted by an unvetted vendor.In an extensive report, the Office of the State Auditor recently expressed concerns with the North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs’ handling of the veteran aid loan, hardship assistance grant, impact grant and highly rural transportation grant programs.
The report stems from a performance audit conducted on the NDDVA beginning in October 2017 and concluding on March 28, 2018. The effort was headed by Rep. Chet Pollert, R-Carrington, and the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee.
The Veterans Aid Loan Program is a permanent revolving fund for eligible veterans and surviving spouses to receive funds for relief or assistance. The audit found that to obtain a loan, the Administrative Committee on Veterans Affairs required applicants to have the financial ability to repay the loan. However, neither ACOVA or the NDDVA had established underwriting guidelines to use when determining an applicant’s financial ability to repay the loan.
Attempts to reach North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Lonnie Wangen and Administrative Committee on Veterans Affairs Chairman Dean Overby for comment went unanswered.
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