Is VA Dysfunctional on Purpose? I Gave My Opinion on 91.3 KBCS Radio

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131119 Is VA Dysfunction Intentional or Accidental

I think the answer is plainly, “Yes, it is dysfunctional on purpose,” just based on common sense.

Something cannot be broken for 100 years with the amount of attention and money that has been thrown at it unless it is broken intentionally.

There, I said it.

I provided this position and a brief explanation while interviewed on Radio 91.3 FM KBCS last week. The interview is linked below for those of you who are interested.

https://kbcs.fm/2013/11/15/access-to-veteran-affairs-services/

Here is a quick summary of the issue and other radio guest who was featured on the show. I did a short write up of my main point in a paraphrased quote below.

In March of 2013, The Department of Veterans Affairs reported over 600,000 veteran unprocessed claims.  In November of 2013, the Head of the Department of Veteran Affairs, Eric Shinseki claimed they had cut the number of claims by a third.  In the meantime, the Washington Times reported that despite the improvement in the number of VA claims, 700,000 former servicemen and women remain waiting for medical benefits owed to them because of a backlogged system that takes an average of 300 days to navigate.  We’d like to focus on what veterans in our region and across the country are experiencing as they claim their need for services with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Guests:

  • Rick Lawson – He served in Balad, Iraq in 2004 and 2005.  He also served four years in the Washington Army National Guard from 2002 to 2006 before receiving a medical discharge.  Today, he’s an veterans’ advocate and hopes to work toward a degree in public health.
  • Benjamin Krause – He enlisted with the US Air Force in 1996 and served in the Air Mobility Command for operations in the Middle East and later with the Special Operation Command, where he participated in operations in Eastern Europe until 2001.  He’s the founder of DisabledVeterans.org, an organization that helps veterans navigate the Department of Veterans Affairs to access disability services.  He’s also a newly minted attorney this year in Minnesota

Here is the interview link again: https://kbcs.fm/2013/11/15/access-to-veteran-affairs-services/

If you are in a hurry, forward through the first half of the interview to minute 15:45. I took the liberty of typing out the meat of the quote below:

Host:

When you talk about having a fresh perspective, as I’m listening to you and Ben, talk about experiences you have had as well as some of those you have been advocating for, what has been keeping VA from providing the resources veterans need. Is it money? Is it policies?

A. What do you think is keeping veterans administration from providing the services?

B. Are there policies or procedures in place where there can be some improvement upon?

Reply of Benjamin Krause:

Sure, that is a great question. I think it is important to keep the modern VA in perspective. And one of the things a lot of people do not realize is that it has evolved over the past two hundred years through various agencies and missions. Toward the end of WWI, it was referred to as the Bureau of War Risk Insurance… It started out as an insurance company…

So I guess big question really is, is VA really broken? I do not think it is broken. I think it is designed to do this. It has been designed to do this for almost 100 years.

Nothing has really changed since its inception as the Bureau of War Risk Insurance. Then it became the Veterans Bureau. Then it became the Veterans Administration. Then it became the Department of Veterans Affairs. And I don’t think anything has changed.

Rather than let the conversation die with this post, why don’t you provide your opinion below.

What do you think in light of the historic problems VA has faced?

What should be done?

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8 Comments

  1. The VA is NOT broken it is designed this way on PURPOSE. And, clearly the “purpose” for which it is designed is to transfer money from the taxpayers to the corporations. Of this, the VA does a WONDERFUL job of work. Pretending to deal with veterans is just part of the charade. The VA spends more money that any other part of the government excepting the Department of Defense which is the top spender. At the same time, vets are told there is “no money” for our needs. Oh really? Well, WHERE in the Hell DOES the money go? It is all gobbled up by mobbed up venders and contractors. The core problem with the VA is not mismanagement, the core problem is corruption.

  2. YES, OF COURSE THE VA IS BROKEN INTENTIONALLY BUT IT IS BEING DONE FROM WITHIN. PEOPLE WHO ACCEPT POSITIONS OF LEADERSHIP ARE TOLD TO TOE THE LINE….DO OUR BIDDING ARE YOU’RE GONE. WAKE UP, WAKE THE _ _ _ _ UP….IT’S TOO LATE FOR US VETS. THE GUVAMINT HAS BEEN OVERTHROWN FROM WITHIN AND ANYONE WHO DOESN’T KNOW THAT IS IN FOR A SHOCK. AS MY JUNIOR HIGH INSTRUCTOR USED TO SAY: WHAT’S THE USE MOTHER GOOSE. SOME PEOPLE KNOW THE HISTORY OF MOST OF OUR LEADERS….AND BUDDY PALS, THE WORSE IS COMING. IT’S TOO LATE FOR (AS THEY SAY IT)….AMERIKKKKA. THAT’S HOW THAT NUT FROM OUT WEST WAS CALLING AMERICA. THE PROBLEM IS WAY BEYOND REPAIR….I FEEL SORRY FOR SOME AMERICANS….THE OTHER AMERICANS ARE UNAMERICAN.

  3. Originally the VA was administering benefits only for casualties of war. I doubt anyone after WWI envisioned paying compensation to veterans for Hemorrhoids, or pension to wartime veterans totally disabled by disabilities acquired after military service. The VA kept liberalizing its benefit spectrum and is unable to manage administering the benefits. No, I do not believe the VA is intentionally mismanaging itself.

    The number of VA beneficiaries is not predictable from year to year since our combat campaigns are not predictable either. But, I think the VA could manage itself effectively, even with the unpredictability of beneficiaries except for the extra benefits that are now entrenched and expected. These benefits are surely appreciated and added over the years with good intentions, but they prevent the VA from operating more efficiently.

    The VA disability claims system is clogged with claims without merit, some issues decided and denied on appeal many times. Yet a veteran can submit new evidence that is not material to the issue and his case can enter and leave the Rating Board over and over again, taking up time and space that should be used deciding valid claims. Some veterans keep a claim going for many years, not because they have better evidence, but just because they hope someone at the VA will believe them versus the evidence and grant their claim. You cannot do this in civil law in municipal or state or federal courts and you should not be able to keep frivolous claims in the active claims system.

    VA can pay a non-service connected disability pension to vets with honorable service of at least 90 days, one or more of which was during a recognized wartime period. The income limits are pretty much parallel to SSI income limits. However, with SSI a person can get Medicaid. Why are we even paying this benefit when a veteran can achieve the same end, plus get medicaid by applying for SSI?

    VA healthcare is available to far more veterans than intended, and with the longer lifespan of Americans more and more money is needed to treat disabilities of old age. Treating chronic degenerative diseases is much more expensive than treating injuries, or acute episodes of disease. Veterans expect to be able to use the VA healthcare system even if they only serve a couple of years and suffer no service related injury or illness. The VA has unintentionally overcommitted resources and is buried in patients.
    How can the VA undo its benevolence? Instead of turning away veterans without either wartime service or service connected disabilities and who have civilian health insurance, they are brought into the system further clogging the system and requiring huge man hours to bill these other agenies or insurance companies. I believe the VA was intended to be a stand-alone system that would not interface with medicare or insurance companies.

    Sure, veterans in the USA have a benefit system far superior to any other in the world in benefits administered. But it also has unintentionally given in to create benefits and a disability claims system that cannot possibly deliver benefits timely. The only way for the VA to become timely is to reduce the number of claims and veterans treated at VA medical facilities.

    • Hear! Hear! I was an honorable discharged USAF Veteran & did not even want to go to the VA due to the fact I had not served during war time. Even though I had been raped & had reported it because I had to go to the base hospital afterwards, I still did not believe I was “entitled” to any benefits. Yes, I had to deal with it & probably did not make the best choices in doing so. But I made those choices so I manned up & muddled through. During a time of unemployment, after my job of over five years, got “out-sourced” to India – I had fallen ill & at my mother’s insistence went to the local VA hospital to see if I could see a doctor. To my disbelief, but relief, I was accepted without any problems or red-tape & saw a doctor that day! But when I started working again I stopped going to the VA hospital because I had and could afford health insurance. Now I work for the VA & depend on them for all of my healthcare because I cannot afford the varied health insurance offered on my meager salary. I see the waste and abuse of the VA system daily. Eric, I agree with everything you have stated but my question is how do we get the VA back on track when we have Veterans, most with no disability or war-time service, that feel “entitled” and demand and get angry at us when we tell them you do not require this or that? Yes, I am in the system now and part of the “problem” since I cannot afford real health insurance but even I would agree that the VA should only have to be responsible for the Veterans that suffer from the casualties of war.

  4. So, it appears, possibly? The delay in reviewing claims is a ‘net net’ “win win” for the cheats in the system. Is there a way to get the facts and improve the situation. Is anyone or a team of people trying to help out?

  5. The VA spends HUNDREDS of Millions annually on employee conferences at resort locations, employee travel, entertainment other luxury fluff for VA Big Shots. The Va also pends HUNDREDS of MILLIONS annually on PR campaigns to Bull Shit the public about what a good job VA is doing. If, Va were doing a good job, this PR spending would not be needed. The VA has also given away HUNDREDS of Millions to mobbed up IT contractors to solve the back log problem. The result? The back log gets worse and worse. when you waste and steal money in units of HUNDREDS of MILLIONS, it adds up pretty quickly.

    I am a 66 Y/O Vietnam Vet. I have been around the VA long enough to be able distinguish clearly between Poetry and VA Bull Shit. The Daffodils is poetry, trying to blame veterans for the problems at the VA is Bull Shit.

    • RON IS CORRECT. THE PROBLEMS WITHIN THE VA ARE MAN-MADE. AMERICA IS MINUTES AWAY FROM BEING DESTROYED. TATA IS THE FATHER OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER. TATA RULES. SOME AMERICANS KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON WITHIN AMERICA. MY COUNTRY IS BEING OVERTHROWN. I COULD WRITE MORE BUT: WHAT’S THE USE MOTHER GOOSE.

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