ALERT: VA Email System Broken For Two Months

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VA Email

Benjamin KrauseFor that past two months, problems have existed within the VA email system where emails were not received without explanation. This problem likely impacted veterans and lawyers sending documents to VA employees for benefits or torts claims.

Yesterday, a high-ranking government official confirmed problems with the VA email system. The problem has been persistent for the past two months. The agency is considering a press release on the email issue.

VA email problems can seem innocuous for most people but can have negative effects on due process and court cases.

Personally, my emails were not going through to one VA attorney connected to the email servers in or around Hines VA Hospital. My VocRehab counselor was also not receiving emails that included attachments.

According to various sources within VA, attachments and forwards were not going through. Numerous court notices from electronic notice databases were not able to contact VA employees, either.

The impact of the email problem on a person’s rights should seem obvious. But I cannot guarantee that VA will appreciate the complexity.

MY ADVICE ON VA EMAIL

For veterans, you have a few options that become even less if you are unable to call the VA employee you are communicating with to verify receipt.

If this is you, I strongly encourage you to resend the communications via fax and include copies of the previous emails.

You can also send your communication and copies of previous communications via mail but be sure to send it using certified mail with return receipt requested.

In either of those communications, be sure to explain that your previous communications were likely not received due to unannounced IT problems within the agency.

For due process issues where the failure to receive you communication resulted in not turning in a document in time or a denial in benefits, you can rebut the presumption of regularity. Since VA’s IT systems were not functioning with regularity, be sure to include the argument in your claim.

Stuart Steinberg

If you’re talking about the Secure Message system on myHealtheVet, this just happened to me. I sent my doctor an email about a meds refill and it never got there. I ran out–it was a narcotic–and have been withdrawing since Sunday. The message I sent right after that one, about an appointment, made it through. Not the first time this has happened.

crazy elf
crazy elf

This goes directly to what 91Veteran heard at the VA/American Legion town hall meeting the other night.
After receiving $22 BILLION to install a new IT system, one has to wonder what really happened to all that taxpayer’s money!

Dennis Parker
I do not email. When I need to send documents I send a FAX. They must accept faxes and if it goes to the release of information office they even keep a log of incoming faxes. My advice is NOT to call the person and rely on them to tell the truth. Simply call the office of the place and ask for the Release Of Info fax number and send a FOIA request for all info about yourself, tell them… Read more »
Dennis Parker
Also, if the fax is about medications, I suggest mot sending a typed fax. These are placed in a scanner, or rather a scanner pile. Human fraility cannot be dismissed and things in stacks and piles get misplaced and lost. I myself have receive letters with others vets stuff on it, clearly a machine jam from the looks of it. What I do is write my simple requests with a marker on white paper. I make the letters large and… Read more »
namnibor
Call me a skeptic but I think the VA’s email problems could very-well be by design. Two months is a long freaking time for *any* company or entity to have hit and miss email system in this information age, let alone for -1- whole day. See where I am going with this? If it’s really true that the VA is already running out of ca$h mysteriously again this year by end of April, what better way to save $$$ by… Read more »
Timothy
Timothy

Your like me, I exam ever thing they say and do. They are so deceptive you must look at them this way. It is just to hard to believe a group with almost unlimited resources could be so screwed up. They spend tax money and get nowhere fast year after year.

Robin Mitchell
-CANCELLED- Legislative Hearing on Draft Legislation, “To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the appeals process of the Department of Veterans Affairs”-CANCELLED- This was cancelled abruptly..very. I was told it is coming back soon in a bigger way. All I am going to say because I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag. If it comes to fruition I expect to see one of the top three to do a Hickey. Maybe resign for a… Read more »
Vic
Vic
Just the other day I tried accessing my VA email, and I found emails I had saved – conversations with upper management at the Tucson VA – are absent… Funny how that works considering the head of the Tucson VA ‘unexpectedly’ retired, and one of his ‘inner circle’ seems to have retired as well…the two I had exchanged emails with. My belief, many are running for cover, and the emails – like Hillary’s – are being deleted to cover their… Read more »
crazy elf
crazy elf

Vic, what I do is make copies, ‘hard paper copies’, of all emails. Or anything else for that matter. Reason: I’ve read where government entities have done exactly as you’ve mentioned.
If you don’t have a computer w/printer set-up. Go to the library and utilize theirs!
Cover you ass always!

91Veteran
91Veteran
I always send or forward a Blind Courtesy Copy (BCC) to a personal account if I send a sensitive email like that. Having printed copies helps, but having the actual emails with the full headers are what is needed. A full header on an email shows the time and date it was sent, the name of the computer sending it, along with the names and IP addresses of the servers that it passes through. Another helpful feature is to turn… Read more »
Robin Mitchell

Hickey did to the VA what Lewinski did to Bill.

A new term to add to the conversation. So who does the next Hickey?

91Veteran
91Veteran
That is shocking. And likely a federal felony. Not only is someone essentially hacking a federal computer system, but they are also destroying a federal record. If you want to scare the hell out of several people, file a FOIA requesting those emails. Emails sent by you to xXxX and yyyy around xxx time and date. Depending on how long ago they retired, those emails are certainly archived somewhere, or may even still be retained in someone’s inbox. Depending on… Read more »
Toxic Veteran
Toxic Veteran
The Airforce FOIA office was holding info about my prior Army base, which they have since taken over. I saw an email but wanted to wait until I was out of a work meeting to read it. By the time I could get to it, there was an email stating FOIS office would like to redact the prior message .. AND the prior message was GONE from my personal email account. BUT one of their personnel sent me reports via… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran
Were you using their computer accessing their server? I believe most email applications have a recall message feature, but that may only work if the recipient is accessing email right on the server. The Air Force used to use Microsoft Exchange servers, and Outlook. Whether that is common throughout the Air Force, I don’t know. I don’t know what the Army uses. In that instance, if someone sent a message and the recipient accessed their email on the server and… Read more »
namnibor

Just thought of this: What if this 2 month email problem is going to be the scapegoat for all the reported Choice Medical Bills not getting paid? Just saying this smells like a prelude for something else in the pipes

How about a massive audit? $22 Billion for IT, all that Choice $, the list goes on…how freaking difficult is it to fix the email glitches? And these are the same folks we are trust with our lives? Right.

Timothy
Timothy

I received a training schedule from another Timothy Coffey working at VA now apparently, I live in Indiana, I think he lives in California? But sent to bob and few others as it is not first time they have mixed us up.

91Veteran
91Veteran
It is disgraceful that a veterans benefits can be impacted by their email system broken for 2 months…and the VA is “considering” a press release on it. Seriously? Considering? That is the kind of problem that should be mandatory to be posted in clinics throughout the nation, posted on VAMC Facebook pages, communicated through their Twitter account and any other manner they can think of to communicate to vets. Why have employees and those social media accounts if they are… Read more »
Paul
Paul

Huh? What did you say? I got my earplugs in. Could you speak up?

Berta Simmons

S& F
SNAFUed and FUBARed up the Ying Yangs.

This might have medical implications as well as buggering claims.

Frank P. Calderon

Dear Mr. Krause:

I don’t believe that to me it sounds like one of the now famous political excuses.

Yours for GOD and Country
Frank P. Calderon

crazy elf
crazy elf

@Ben,
Since this has to do with a myriad of aspects within VA! Could it also affect veterans not receiving ‘travel pay’?

Bob White

Charlie Norwood has posted at the VA center that travel pay is not paying out travel pay for 5 to 6 weeks. You can still file . I asked why the delay they told me that they had people retiring and they had not been replaced and that’s why its it was backed up. Just another day in the VA world. Got to get better.

91Veteran
91Veteran

You can bet your life that if anyone retired or there was a problem with a system in which VA employees were not getting their paycheck, it wouldn’t last more than 2 days let alone 2 months.

David A. Gates
How convenient…..It’s like the Three Wise Monkeys… VA employees don’t like Email… That leaves paper trail…. They, like most of the Federal executives use their personal Email so it can’t be monitored by the VA and is harder to subpoena (as Hillary Clinton has shown us). Why would you believe anyone from the VA?? They’ve lied to Congress and the public for decades. The more money they get the bigger the lies. Maybe the VA should take all the overpaid… Read more »
Frank P. Calderon
Dear Mr. Krause: The quote, in your opening comment of the Alert: “VA Email system Broken for two months.” is precisely what I alluded to in my comment of, April 28, 2016 3;44 P.M. as to how the VA could ascertain the exact time the system will be down and be inoperable unless it was planned that way; instead of just saying, the system will be down for an undetermined time,in other words it might be down two months, one… Read more »
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