Veterans Affairs Apologizes Over ‘Ill-Advised’ Cellphone Ban

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VA Cellphone Ban
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VA Cellphone Ban

Benjamin KrauseCoverage on DisabledVeterans.org of Veterans Affairs (VA) unlawful and ‘ill-advised’ ban of iPhones and other cellphones spurred outrage on Monday and forced the agency to issue an apology yesterday. The apologies were cited by The Washington Free Beacon and Fox News this morning, which stated the issue was first published on this website.

VA: Ban of Phones for Veterans Was ‘Ill Advised’

VA apologizes for ‘ill-advised’ ban on veterans’ cellphones

How is that for a quick turnaround?

The flyer depicted numerous items and threatened that, if brought to a VA medical appointment, the agency would cancel the appointment. The items were an iPhone, backpack, knife and a pistol. At the bottom of the flyer it showed the VA logo and slogan, “Defining Excellence in the 21st Century.”

VA Flyer Cellphone Ban

The flyers first surfaced on the Facebook group VA is Lying, and spurred a great deal of debate over the weekend.

A VA official informed the press yesterday that the flyers were ‘ill-advised’ and that the practice would stop:

“The flyer included in Veterans’ Compensation and Pension (C&P) appointment letters at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System’s (ECHCS) Golden community based outpatient clinic were ill-advised.”

The VA official went on to explain the steps VA would take to ensure no other VA employees would violate the due process rights of veterans by canceling such guaranteed appointments:

“All C&P program managers across the system have been informed that the distribution of these, or similar, flyers should be immediately discontinued,” the official said. “The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) goal is to provide veterans with the care and the opportunities for health that they have earned through their service and sacrifices.”

Who here thinks Bob McDonald should have been front and center apologizing for veterans upset by this unlawful and dimwitted scheme?

[easy-tweet tweet=”@deptvetaffairs Bob McDonald should be the one who apologizes to #veterans.”]

The Free Beacon included an extensive quote from me as to why the flyer was unlawful and a slap in the face for Americans:

The flyers had originally caught some vets off guard and prompted Disabled Veterans’ Benjamin Krause to criticize the VA.

“The decision is a violation of due process and numerous laws protecting the rights of disabled Americans,” Krause wrote.

“The key here seems to be that VA forgets that veterans are also Americans who are protected by the Constitution and who also possess unalienable rights,” he adds. “Did we sign our rights away forever by fighting our country’s battles?”

Moreover, Krause wrote, “the leaflet does not explain what to do if the veteran is prescribed use of an iPhone or backpack as an accommodative device that helps the disabled veteran with a disability.”

The day I published that story, VA also processed the FOIA request I sent in seeking any and all information related to the publication of the flyer including legal interpretations from the Office of General Counsel indicating the flyers were lawful. I assume the few VA locations guilty of the act failed to check in with their legal counsel prior to publishing the flyers.

So despite the few VA trolls who posted comments on my original article claiming the story was a falsification or much-ado-about-nothing… Well, I guess those trolls have egg on their face.

As for me, we just sent off a letter to the Senate address problems just like this one where VA officials are sending misleading and unlawful information to veterans on whim with no accountability. However, we veterans now have the ear of the press including this website.

Let’s dig in and get to work.

Sources: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/10/01/va-apologizes-for-ill-advised-ban-on-veterans-cellphones/

https://freebeacon.com/issues/va-ban-of-phones-for-veterans-was-ill-advised/

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38 Comments

  1. Put on your work boots Ben. We only getting started. Nice to bring change in less than 24 hours!

    Keep up the good work and thanks to “VA is Lying” for getting the word out.

  2. “Great work” to Ben & Ron.
    Just like what Brandon said, “Put the boots on and let’s get to work!”
    It’s about time for VA to stop violating veterans rights. If a VA employee gets caught committing a crime, there needs to be swift legal action/jail time! No ifs’, buts’ or ands’ about it!
    Like namnibor has said many times, “Veterans lives matter, also!”
    This is directed directly to McDonald, get off you ass and 1.) Stop Lying, 2.) Fire the incompetent employees NOW, and 3.) Apologize on camera to every Veteran in America! For what upper management has gotten away with during YOUR WATCH!

    • What he said!! Hope you are feeling better, CrazyElf…I seem to have contracted a serious gastro bug…see my Gastro Specialist tomorrow. Not fun.
      The VA’s stepped-up ‘VA Games’ is definitely good for constipation issues but when you live with the complete opposite problem, some of this daily crap…just makes things well, more crappy…:-)

      • namnibor, I think I got ‘gerd’! Afraid to eat anything. Last night I slept fairly well. Going in the morning to see a nurse or physician over it.
        Hope you well also, brother…,

  3. Thank you, guys for all have done for us veterans that need our cell phones.
    For our appotiments and other emergainces too and contacting
    our love ones and letting them know how or what is going on
    with our health and other issues too.
    Thank you again:
    Daniel Ritzman

  4. Great job, Ben!

    As to your question regarding McDonald. All I can say is being the Secretary of the VA, is never having to say your sorry.

  5. Ya Think? That went over like a fart in Church. I`m more that positive something else stupid will follow.

    Not meant to drift off topic But, I tried That “Choice Pgrm” What a Cluster***K I RAN Back to the V.A. Clinic Rapid! I spent two weeks on the phone. My RX Was not honored because time had ran out on the Local Dr`s 60 day limit, You have to set up a new Appt every 2 weeks to (SEE) If you can get an Appt. Too tired & too damn old to fool with all that.

    I`d rather drive 96 miles once a year and have my meds come to the door. It`s “Your call” Me I`m sticking with what I`ve been doing for 40+ yrs.

    • lol, yeah, they gave me an appointment to the podiatrist for 45 days out which it is supposed to be within I think 30 days of the
      doctor requesting it. I called the choice they sent me, you know the one that says your enrolled. Lmao they told me you have to call Dallas and enroll, hell by the time I would of finished what they wanted the appointment would of went and left.

  6. There’s an article by VETERANS TODAY dated September 30, 2015 about the American Legion calling for the resignation of Secretary Hickey because of the 2 SES employees caught breaking VA rules. Ben did a report here a couple of days ago about what they did..

  7. No one should be surprised at the proposed ban nor how long it takes to call them.
    They are still using “hand crank phones” and have no idea what a “smart
    phone” is since they operate in an “unsmart” environment.
    I am utterly dismayed that they haven’t banned wheelchairs as suicide bombers.

  8. Crap! I was going to use the ‘Sorry I didn’t answer your call. The VA made me leave my cell phone at home” excuse for ignoring unwanted calls! Seriously, thank you Ben for helping stop this unfair policy.

  9. Good job Ben! I just went to the VA in Tamarac, FL their phones and computers were down, no appmts, no drugs, and no back-up systems. What are they doing with all of their $$?? Oh, I know printing out crazy flyers banning cell phones!

  10. Just spoke with one of our service officers, who said that he was told by the doctor, prior to his C&P examination, to turn off his cell phone and place it into a plastic bucket so that there could be no recording done of the examination.

    Guess that they are really worried about being caught screwing up the examinations.

  11. This Is nice to finaly here something good for us ,thank you Ben,Hey I sure hope you’re not planning on going to VA for healthcare anytime soon ,your stepping on toes ,I don’t trust any of them. I questioned & weather it was shit luck I became deathly ill ,and they took all my Meds & stopped seeing me ,Fu.kem I figure I will live longer staying out of the zoo .Ben thank you for all you do for us .We are our brothers keepers ,we are the only ones that are looking out for each other

  12. Thanks Ben its great someone Listen and took action!

    I wish that those same people would go after the employees that are falsely accusing veterans of disruptive behavior and the employees not required to provide any proof and higher management punishing the veteran with no recourse to defend themselves! This includes why the OIG does not require proof and also the FBI!

    They all make the veteran feel like a criminal, yet a criminal would had more rights and the accuser would have had to provide all the proof and the court would see the VA had nothing except hearsay And that would have been thrown out for lack of evidence!

    Have a very good ALL!

  13. BEN could run the VA with many of the folks on this blog, they know the problems and work on getting results. My two cents.

  14. Great job!

    I do wonder just what “ill advised” means in Sec. McDonald’s head? Is it right NEXT to that favorite of his, “I misspoke”?

    It would be akin to pulling teeth with toothpicks in a dark cave to get our Secretary to give a Public Apology it seems.

    Still not seeing nor feeling that “New Transparency” that Sec. McDonald promised upon taking position. Maybe what that really meant was it *becomes transparent once caught”…yeah, that must be it.

    Great job, Ben and all Veterans and Survivors!

    VA Trolls…we have your number.

  15. Ironic, as you highlighted, the VA notice says “Excellence in the 21st Century”. Did the VA miss the part of smartphones in the 21st century, or are they still stuck in the stone age? I think I just asked a dumb question.

    • “Excellence in the 21st Century”…maybe they misspoke and really meant “Excellence in the 21st Century B.C.”.

      Wonder how many million$ the VA contracted to make all those fliers?

      WHO “ill-advised” Sec. McDonald? Hickey? Obama? Disney?

  16. Ben, you said, “I assume those few guilty locations publishing the flyers did not check in with their legal counsel first.”

    I presume something different. Namely, this was a carefully calculated trial balloon, to see if the VA could get by with this illegal ban on a wide-spread basis.

    Remember your service at JSOC, and the anti-subversion concept that, “Things are rarely what they appear to be.” Indeed, with the VA, things are NEVER what they appear to be.

    It’s called a “hidden agenda”. Most black ops do not have the objective they appear to have. You know this already Ben. Excellent work!

    A very safe bet is the VA paid a shitload of dollars to special counsel who designed the cellphone ban flyers. It served its purpose. It was a take-away ploy, and now we are supposed to feel happy that we get our phones back. And, it was a distraction tactic, go get our attention off whatever in the hell it is the VA is really worried about. They just bought themselves a week, in that they kept us all off balance during this time.

    The VA is like a dog who barks in the front yard then sneaks to the back yard to quiety did up the garden there while you worry about what could be going on in the front yard.

    And then, the destruction is done; their plan worked. It might be a while till you look in the back yard. Maybe if your dog is lucky a big storm will come and knock some trees down and you will never find out what it was he was up to.

    That is the fucking VA! It’s how they roll. Wild guess, we will find out what it was all about in a week or so, but only if we keep looking, but in a very smart way. Including at things that are already known, but may be astronomically more damaging to the VA, even to the extinction level (as in, the end of the VA). Super wild guess: it will have something to do with Putin.

    Bizarre guess, the VA outsources our claims to the Russians. I would NOT be surprised! Do you have any idea how many Russians Putin brought with him during his visit with Obama this week? Can you guess how many are still here, and in what Cabinet departments (uh, like the VA for starters, not to mention the DoD) they are sniffing around in at this very moment?

    • Bruce, I wonder if it’s because VA just got allocated a sh!tpot full of money (Aurora Col. was just given over $650 million more). I know that seems small compared to a $168+billion yearly allotment. But, imo, where is all the money going?
      How many more in upper management will be drooling to get their hands on it?

      • I am trying to find out what they are doing with the funds congress gave them for Special Monthly Compensation T…aid and attendance for service connected TBI vets. I know they aren’t spending it where congress approved it for.

      • Elf,

        Good guess. And, even though they got all that money for the Aurora hospital project, there is no reason to believe they are going to spend it on that. I know this is off point, but notice the name Aurora. Sure, a town where a government hospital is supposed to be built, but it’s also thought to be the name of a futuristic hyper-sonic aircraft currently in development. Black projects are commonly known to sometimes be known to be hidden in plain sight. In this case, it would be a case of using a non-secret name (of an obvious town) to be a cover for a project of the same name (the plane). Then, when the star chamber folks don’t have to worry if they are ever heard discussing the secret Aurora plane development program. If this or something like this turned out to be the case, as to why the VA is so screwed up, that tons and tons of money are being siphoned off for a black project like this, it would be a small condolence if they could at least eventually have something to show for it. It gets even more tangled when you consider things like the Black Flying Triangle UFO things that have been witnessed buy so many thousands of reliable witnesses all around America (Arizona, northern California for example) and in the United Kingdom. Can you imagine what it would cost to keep that kind of program funded and functioning? One way or another though, all these billions the VA gets year after year sure as hell is NOT being spent on veterans or anything related to them or anything that goes on at the VA. Finally, today there is something in the news about shutting down the VA, some fight over the budget for them, between the Dems and Repubs. Something about a temporary patch to keep the VA afloat or whatever till December 11. It would be so nice if the business of America could dispense with its constant drama. A lot of people would like to see Trump in there, firing the living daylights of these idiots, canning them by the hundreds and thousands at the VA and elsewhere.

      • As of yesterday, the Democrats blocked veteran funding. I wonder where the veterans organizations who were warning Congress about shutting down government are now.

    • @ Bruce, I think you are right. One VA troll critiqued me on LinkedIn for not writing positive things about VA. His name was Mark Morello. He claims this is an actual policy being implemented at a few locations, and I agree that this was more likely a trial run.

      Morello’s critique of me on LinkedIn USAF Veterans included, “I guess it’s a mass conspiracy to take our rights of self defense away at all levels. It’s also a violation of the VA’s privacy rules to have cameras in their facilities. This is to help protect the privacy of patients and staff. Last time I checked, iPhone have cameras built in. This particular policy is enforced to varying levels at different facilities. ”

      https://www.linkedin.com/grp/post/129394-6054469458108370947

      What I am noticing is that VA employees and certain VA contractors are getting quite aggressive when it comes to anyone publishing critiques against VA. These folks, like Mike yesterday, always attack the individual rather than the argument, which is a logical fallacy. The comments from Mike, yesterday, even included some crafty Marxian dialectic showing a fair amount of education and clear alignment with all things we, as Veterans, fought against at one point or another.

      • Ben, who cares if a VA troll, or anyone, critiques you or anyone for criticizing the VA? Anyone who says anything positive about the VA under the circumstances of the true, EXTREME level of VA incompetence, extreme constant wide-spread damage and destruction they DELIBERATELY AND INCOMPETENTLY cause, is no less than a daydreaming, Pollyanna (excessively or irrationally optimistic person), moron, ass-kissing moron. They really don’t like it when a prestigious and highly respect attorney criticizes the
        VA, so, like dogs that instinctively chase cats, they can’t resist any opportunity to make themselves look like the corrupt and pathetic ANTI-AMERICAN commie loving morons they truly are. I did not call them morons quite enough. Morons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Traitors! Childish, pathetic, hyper-destructive, self-centered, incompetent mor-fucking-ons!

  17. I think pressing them on this medical record falsification via behavioral flags and snooping of veteran records will keep them on edge. I would have a private investigator watc your six Ben, Look what DOJ did to that Congressman and got caught. Outstanding work!!!

  18. When I received the email from you Brian, I ran the story on my Blog Talk Radio broadcast FIREFOXNEWS ONLINE™ and 2 days later I called the Veterans Affairs & its OIG asking questions, and I am willing to bet given that and I am sure MANY Veterans calling put Veterans Affairs & its OIG in Washington, DC gave them reason to reverse the cell phone ban…

    • George, that is awesome. Keep up the fight! Every inch of exposure helps. All this came from the VA is Lying blog… and come to find out VA was lying about whether its ban of cellphones was legal.

      It was a lie.

  19. I elected to be seen by the VA 7 yrs ago, I have finally decided that I have had enough BS from these Idiots & incompetent F***ging Ass Holes that I will No longer put my health in their hands, I’ve been there, seen that, didn’t receive any T-Shirt, & Iam stepping Far , Far, Far away from the Dept of Veterans Affairs…Our Legislators & Veterans Organizations need to run these people out of town, Secy McDonald leading the way.

  20. Ben, I just posted a comment below and didn’t get the usual notification to subscribe to the comments. Is that feature gone now?

    Thanks for your efforts on the cellphone issue and keeping us informed here.

Comments are closed.