Veterans Divided On Hickey Resignation

56
1823
Allison Hickey Benjamin Krause

Allison Hickey Benjamin Krause

Benjamin KrauseVeterans are clearly divided following the Allison Hickey resignation last week. Some veterans are certainly supportive of her work and direct help with a variety of disability compensation issues. Other veterans felt ignored and are generally dissatisfied with either her performance or involvement in the recent scandal that led to her resignation.

What do you think about her now that she has departed?

RELATED: Diana Rubens Mocks Congress Over Fraud Investigation

Last week, Allison Hickey resigned following revelations that she helped director Diana Rubens circumvent legal checks to secure extra move-pay incentives by ousting a two tour Iraq War veteran from his post as director at Philadelphia Regional Office. Hickey resigned days prior to a House Committee hearing where her presence was requested.

I wanted to take some time to write about my own experiences with Hickey and to include statements from others in the veteran community including my friend Jim Strickland. Some of you may know Jim by his website VAWatchdog.org. He is a longtime friend and the person who got me started writing to help veterans online.

[NOTE: The picture above was in 2013 while I was in law school.]

MY THOUGHTS ON ALLISON HICKEY

I met with Allison Hickey in 2013. She invited me to meet with her in DC to discuss this website and my work on behalf of the veteran community. Allison struck me as a very engaging person with a lot of energy. This energy was contagious for her employees to whom she was devoutly committed. I like her as a person and so do a lot of other veterans.

I warned her during that meeting that she was being misled by her higher level executives about the problems within VA facilities across the nation.

Over the past two years, she clearly reached out directly into the community to refer veterans to those who could help. Sometimes it worked out and sometimes it did not. What I will say is that despite me being quite out spoken on the failures of her department staff, she still even tried to help me twice with my own benefits.

Clearly her decision related to Diana Rubens was questionable and I’m disappointed that her decisions resulted in a blemish on her career. Nonetheless, there is no question that she was one of the only high level agency executives who would reach out to individual veterans in trouble on a weekend.

Immediately after her resignation, VBA announced its new policy that they will no longer allow three way video hearings for veterans getting formal hearings at regional offices. Does this sound like a problem?

This means veterans will be stuck with only local representation instead of being able to find the best attorney across the country, which is what was allowed up until immediately following Hickey’s resignation. Instead, they will only be able to be represented by local attorneys or local veteran service officers. In places where no attorneys represent veterans, this will clearly be a problem.

Perhaps this was already in the works?

RELATED: My Meeting With Under Secretary Allison Hickey (2013)

JIM STRICKLAND ON ALLISON HICKEY

The following was written by my friend Jim Strickland, at my request, for the purpose of this article and may not reflect my views or those of the DisabledVeterans.org community:

“I’m in a distinct minority when it comes to General Hickey. I have a lot of respect for her work and I like her personally. I’ve communicated directly and off the record with her any number of times and she’s always been professional and engaged.

“She took on a brutal job that had been run by a career interim USB for ages. People around her were soon picked off one by one as she stayed the course. She had one goal… modernize the antique computer system at VBA. Everything else rode the back of that mission. I believe that she had mission focused tunnel vision and ignored most everything else. That’s always a mistake and didn’t make her popular.

“When Petzel sandbagged Shinseki, she just kept working on her job and tried to avoid the flak.

“She set up an on-line system to file for benefits. It more or less works fairly well considering it’s the VA. That bypassed the veterans service organizations and their infamous VSO recruiters. In DC you just don’t ignore the VSO’s. Congressional politics as usual is ongoing so no progress has really been made on either the VHA nor the VBA front. The BVA is being crushed and that won’t become terribly apparent for 2 more years. The really big show is yet to come.

“She’s being pilloried over 2 employees who took what were apparently legal and not unusual executive bonuses. In my civilian career, I’d had my employer purchase my home, provide me with more than reasonable relocation expenses and so on. It’s a lot of money but it’s relocation SOP in executive circles. Should it be? I won’t argue that, I’d say that if it’s the common practice, it should be looked at as an ethical or financial debate. That doesn’t make it illegal or even immoral. Bonuses and relo expenses are just business as usual.

“The veterans I’ve talked with about her resignation didn’t blink. Most veterans don’t pay that much attention to who is in charge, they just want the system to work. Ultimately who runs the show at VA day to day is a sort of whack-a-mole game, isn’t it? Blamecasting is a science at VACO.

“I polled a few VA employees to see how they thought this would affect them. Interestingly, I got, “The folks who I work with could care less who the boss in DC is.” That’s from a trusted high-level employee at a VARO and was pretty typical of other responses. Career VA employees have seen so much turmoil that another senior executive head rolling isn’t at all unusual or even newsworthy. Anybody want to talk about Nicholson? Principi? Peake?

“I think that losing her will set the VBMS program back months, maybe years. What was beginning to show promise is lost. Chaos will reign once again…worse than today. We now have another temp in charge and only a fool would want that job permanently. The word SNAFU seems to have been coined just for the VA.”

RELATED: VAWatchdog.org

FACEBOOK COMMENTS ON ALLISON HICKEY RESIGNATION

Here are some Facebook comments from veterans in response to my articles about Hickey’s resignation this last week. The feedback from the community on my Benjamin Krause Facebook page and the VA is Lying Facebook group is certainly mixed. The following quotes do not necessarily reflect my views:

Roger L Cochran I will say she sent blanket emails out on a regular basis talking about the “progress” being made. So this final email is in keeping with her routine. She may not have been able to say anything about the VAOIG report that recommended disciplinary action against her for involvement with senior executive relocation fraud and unethical misconduct. Congress may still decide to subpoena her.

Barbara Carter Congress should investigate themselves.

Karen Stern Why not? I worked for Brig Gens and Maj Gens, they always had kind word for us, that’s what made us work hard to them. She’s a woman. We love, don’t judge. She made the ROs jump for many of us!

Barbara Carter General Hickey will be known for her advocacy for veterans.

Barbara Carter How she chooses to write her emails is a personal choice. It reflects the mood she may have been in. If the OIG investigated every manager within every government agency, we would have to restaff all agencies. KUDOS General Hickey.

Barbara Carter I just read the OIG investigation report. The two managers should repay the monies received from their moves, General Hickey is guilty of signing off on a request for travel pay. She didn’t disburse the funds. Their should have been a checks and balances…

Amber Leonard My head just spun. I thought this was the woman supposed to be helping veterans. Did this lady really do something terribly wrong or is the VA just going after her for helping veterans?

Ryan Grone Hundreds of Thousands of dollars for moving expenses while wounded Marines wait for medical care for injuries suffered in a war fought on false pretenses? I think we can find someone better than that to do Hickey’s job.

Karen Stern Hickey is the scapegoat.

Steven Eppley Regardless of the legal issues surrounding her, we should remember her for the many good things she did for so many veterans. I will always remember her in my heart for her assistance in finally receiving my 100% p & the tdiu. Contacting Phoenix and making them do there job. 2 days later last October I was approved. I wish I knew her current e mail. So I could thank her again. If she is reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Most of my time is spent in bed or a recliner chair as I can’t get around easily anymore.

Jaina Bledsoe I don’t care if she sprinkled the office with magical pixie dust while wearing a yellow tutu, as she moon walked right out the front door. If I were her, I’d be happy to be gone and no longer have to beat my head against the same brick walls. Maybe she’ll turn whistleblower now that she’s gone… hope so!

Barbara Carter I still commend Mrs. Hickey for her advocacy. She should kick her feet up, have a drink and try to forget the VA nightmare. I am sure the good outweigh’s the bad. Kudos Mrs. Hickey.

Thomas Clement I know a lot of vets might disagree with me but Hickey and McDonald were just buying vets favor during do time of massive scandal and corruption. Sure they pushed through a few claims but in the end she did nothing to fix the system. I personally sent her proof my RO was pressuring vets to close old claims and she did nothing. Good riddens.

Robert Stahlnecker All i can say for sure is. Rubens , Fillopov and service center manager Ms. Paul fucked my world up and hickey did zero to get it in the open. My life simply doesnt matter when the va gets paid instead… the entire philly ro needs another turn over… corruption runs rampant there… Maureen Kent could also be part of veterans abuse cover up…

Gary Bass “One Hand Washes The Other.” nothing will change until laws are passed and some of these criminals go to prison for their juvenile and bullying behavior. We are talking about human lives at stake here. This is not a who gets to join the Country Club moment. The VA has been ran like a Private Club for VA SES “civil SERVANTS” for far too long. Shut down the mafia.

Brian Lewis I suggest looking backwards to see what connections are lurking in their pasts.

Ronald Nesler These people truly believe that their glowing “success” is totally unrelated to any form of service to the veteran. They are down the rabbit hole, where VA is LYING and Veterans are Dying, while they posture for the media and heap phony accolades upon…

Reuben Castro Acosta VETS WHAT DID YO EXPECT FROM HICKEY I GIVE RATS REAR ABOUT VETS ????????????????????????????????????????????

Kevin Rapier A true VA employee that actually cares about veterans would not look for or want any recognition. They would know their is another vet that they could be helping and just move on to the next. Time spent on “glorifying” there “accomplishments” is just grand standing for themselves. It does absolutely nothing for the Vet standing on the sidelines waiting for help.

Chris Kyalo There is nothing wrong with speaking about accomplishments after all, when God finished creating the world. He said, it is good and then he rested. It’s human nature. Something isn’t being put in light but I am sure it will come. I stick with Hickey to the end.

Ronald Nesler Chris Kyalo I have interacted extensively with Gen Hickey, she is NOT any worse than most government officials, but she isn’t a goddess either. She was directly behind the end of informal claims, which did devastating harm to many veterans. She supported it, and she wouldn’t even discuss it.

Roger L Cochran She also pushed for rapid implementation of the EZ forms and use of online apps which REQUIRE the claimant to acknowledge they are waiving the duty to assist rights under VCAA. The VA underbelly (all those upper level useless management people who seem…

Chris Kyalo I did not know that. Working for her at one point her emails were; “approve all claims where you can prove. Do not deny any veteran compensation”. Her words and she always would really up morale. I remember VSR’s were needed and only could be afforded on temporary basis. While she might be to blame the Congressional members did not make it easy for her and the institution was used as a battling ground.

Vicky Katzenberger Olson I think, in Hickey world, that patting herself on the back makes her feel less like a piece of crap. How many claims became backlogged under her watch & how many blanket denials are waiting on appeal. Yep, you did a great job for the government – not the Veterans

Roger L Cochran Another sore spot is the imaging of c-files and then destroying the file. Why in the world would you want to destroy those records without making multiple repeated attempts to give it to the veteran? As negligent as the VBA demonstrates on a daily basis, I can only imagine how many crucial pieces of evidence are being destroyed.

Calvin Winchell When they won’t show you your c-file, medical records, or anything else is because they are concealing facts they do not want you to see! Freedom of information is a crock of warm shit!

Randy Van Geest It is a sad day

Shawn Smith Amazing the results you can claim when you just toss some in the shredder and stamp denied on the rest.

Kevin Michael Phelps I guess I thought she was on our team all this time she helped me and other Vets here. Guess the truth is out and makes me look foolish for sending her other Vets and telling them she would help quickly.

Debbie Hess Why haven’t I seem this on the news? ???

Kevin Olivera I was just about to share with General Allison Hickey, a summarized account of the issues and errors that occurred in my VA claims. Who should I send this information to if not her? My VA claims have been heavily affected by what appears to be gross mishandling due to apparent whistleblower retaliation, that has continued from military service to present.

Barbara Carter General Hickey is a true advocate for veterans in spite of allegations, she was a true advocate for veterans.

Brian Lewis Maybe she was scared of her staff touching all that paper because it could have caused paper cuts creating a dangerous work environment. grin emoticon.

What do you think about Hickey and her work for veterans?

Check out more veteran comments about Hickey on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/benjaminlkrause

https://www.facebook.com/groups/VA.is.LYING/

Stay informed on VA news, scandals and benefits. Get our daily newsletter via email.

17343

DisabledVeterans.org

Get our free daily newsletter.

56 Comments

  1. Ok, folks, as I promised yesterday.

    1.) “Obama to Veto $612 Billion Defense Bill over Funding, Gitmo”
    22 October 2015
    Associated Press

    If he vetoes it, it will be the first time in “more than 50 years.”
    Additionally, quote, “This bill would increase defense spending by adding $38 billion to a separate war-fighting account. The White House says that’s a “funding gimmick”!”

    2.) “Congress Subpoenas VA Officials Over IG Allegations”
    21 Oct. 2015
    by “Military dot com | by Bryant Jordan

    Looks like the “missing 5” who were ‘no shows’ on Wednesday, will have to appear on November 2! This includes “Brig. Gen. Hickey” (ret.).

    3.) “Congress Hampering Probes of VA Abuse of Power: Department Officials”
    21 October 2015
    from “Military dot com”
    by Bryant Jordan

    “Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson made the warning…” to Miller earlier this month in a letter.
    y’all need to read this article. As far as I’m concerned, if VA has their way, it will more than likely get swept under a rug!

    As far as Hickey is concerned, whether she “was duped by subordinates” or not. She should have, before granting anything, been more diligent in the handling of these actions by people below her!
    I would have hoped she would have voluntarily gone to the committee and gave “truthful and honest answers”. My two reasons are; one, it would have shown veterans and taxpayers she truly cared. And two, it would have set the record straight if laws had been broken or not!

    Breaking;
    On a website this morning through “Twitter” concerning Trump’s bid for POTUS, he has 70% of the “Electoral Votes”! Also, Trump has taken Iowa away from Clinton.
    In the article, it also says the news media will not be reporting this, or they will “down play” it greatly…..
    This might be great news…..

  2. All I really can hope for is that Gen. Hickey allows some soul-searching and when this investigation is over or left to be quietly slid under the proverbial rug, is that she realizes she could be the ultimate whistleblower with her unique insight and position held. This is providing she was not required to sign a NDA.

    As far as the coincidental timing of now the VA will no longer allow three-way video support for legal reasons seems to me a way the VA is forcing their codependent on VA, Veteran Service Org’s/Officers to continue to facilitate the building-up of yet another huge backlog that I have a feeling will be coming back in spades with all the quickly stamped ‘denied’ in this quick chipping away at the Claims Backlog that probably have huge stacks of NOD’s awaiting the laborious Appeals Process.

    Is this new rule not allowing a third-party video hearing part of VA’s trying to do ‘Damage Control”, never mind fact this will toss a serious cog into many a Veteran’s process? It does not seem reasonable or justifiable when SKYPE is so easily useable and available.

    Lastly, “Where’s Waldo”?…errr, I mean, Sec. McDonald?

    • @namnibor,
      I remember reading somewhere the VA & VSO’s were trying to get outside attorneys away from helping veterans with claims adjudication.
      Basically, if I remember correctly, the article explained it in a way where “VSO’s would no longer be a voice to be reckoned with at VA or within the government!” Taking away their “power”, so to speak.
      So now there’s no more three way video feeds where attorneys, who have more expertise than most VSOs, who can do more for the veterans! I will more than guarantee you, the next step by VA AND the VSO’s will be to TAKE AWAY the rights of veterans to use attorneys as a legitimate source to adjudicate claims!
      If I’m correct on this, as you also believe, claims adjudication will move slower than the proverbial molasses….

      Here are a few more noteworthy articles to read,
      1.) “Save Us From Paul Ryan and the Kemp Boys”
      from Townhall dot com
      Oct. 21,2015
      by Ann Coulter

      You will be interested in this one namnibor.

      2.) “Sheriff Clark Hammers Liberals Who Do THIS for Criminals”
      thepoliticalline dot com
      by Rusty Weiss
      With video

      3.) “Hmm: Conservative Group Pressures GOP to Oppose Bill that Dismantles Obamacare”
      Oct. 22, 2015
      by Guy Benson

  3. Hickey was a ring knocker and an EEO one at that. She emailed me many times she was on it. What “it” was I have no idea as she did ZERO.

    Indianapolis VBA Director Michael Stephens now has THREE 21-2680’s on a TBI service connected veteran and refuses to approve SMC T.

    Good riddance to a useless woman who needs to learn to go bake cookies or something that can’t hurt veterans.

    As far as the two rug munchers under her…both need silver matching bracelets and orange jumpsuits. Orange is the new black.

    Danny Pummill refused to show up for the congressional hearing. I have heard he has a shits chance of getting past the senate on confirmation. Hint: forget that brave day on 9/11…what did he do in the Army before that he doesn’t want public?

    It has been 36 hours since I emailed him and haven’t heard a word back.

    You can find on the net where I predicted Hickey and Baghdad Bob McDonald both gone soon. I stand by that. Bob is in it for his ego. Repairing it after being fired from P&G.

    • @Robin,
      Ol McD wasn’t truly “fired” from P&G, it was a “Forced Retirement” by the “Board”. LOL!!!! But, ok, I will agree, “Fired” IS a more appropriate word!

      Here’s another interesting fact.
      Have you noticed his phone numbers he’s given out begin with the “area code” of (513)? If he’s living in Washington D.C., or around there, why is he still using a phone designated for the Cincinnati, Ohio area? That “area code” is for both “Hamilton and Butler Counties of Ohio”!
      Here’s another fact worth investigating. Did y’all know the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Organization is “right across the Ohio River from Cincinnati in Colds Springs, Ky?
      And now we hear VA will no longer allow this “three way conference feed”, with outside attorneys, to help veterans adjudicate claims. This is a HMMMM thought, don’t y’all think!

      Here’s something else. Yesterday someone mentioned that a higher up in one of the Dakota state(s), was going to “retire” after what happened to Hickey! That’s another HMMM thought, don’t ya think?

      • That video conference new rule would effect my husband if it goes that far as the Ranger Association found him a great attorney half way around the country. I am not worried. You don’t make it 21 years in Rangers and as a Green Beret without being resourceful even if gimped from service.

        Money from SMC T is not making it to the veterans so where is it going. One HIGH level person told me the VBA saw it as a golden goose like the CHOICE card when it was approved in 2011.

        That will change.

        And I know many are reading here so a note to those on the email yesterday I sent out: if you can reach out and literally touch Baghdad Bob McDonald everyday at work but not have a clearance to get into a SOF vets file you might be out of your league.

        They pick those rare boys well and put them thru the gauntlet to get to the mission stage. And, I am not talking Baghdad Bob’s little adventure ALIT in Alaska he is so fond of telling. We are talking about guys who chased Spetnatz in Alaska during the Cold War types and lived to tell it.

      • @Robin,
        Trust me on one fact about me. I was raised by a mother and father who instilled upon me many important values. One of which was, “Never associate with or talk to someone who is a pathological liar!”
        As far as I’m concerned, Ol McDonald IS a pathological liar! He has proven that many times over now.
        Therefore, There’s absolutely no reason for me or desire, to contact him any way shape or form!

      • Crazy Elf:
        Your comment about the phone numbers has a simple explanation. If it is a cell phone number, it can have an area code from wherever you activated the cell service. You can move anywhere in the country (and perhaps overseas as well- will check) and keep your original number. The above does not apply to land lines
        Paul Garner, TSgt, USAF (Ret)

      • @Paul,
        You are correct on cell phone usage.
        Only, I was just opining about certain facts regarding how VSO’s and VA work together in certain aspects.
        This latest being the institution of no more three way “conference calls” between VA, veterans and “outside attorneys from other states” in adjudicating veterans claims!
        Please read my, and namnibor’s, full comment.
        It isn’t really about the “cell phone ” persay, its about its “location” to a certain VSO, which for years now has come under scrutiny by veterans. Please google;
        “DAVreform” for more details.

  4. You can put a smile on the Devil, lipstick on a pit bull, and dress them up to look pretty. One thing you cannot do is take corruption out of America.
    She may be a sweet talker, she may be a very nice person. Her morals and ethics are not what this country needs.
    Every year the country of America and the people in it let the ethical values of the United States be dropped a little lower. If we go to much lower we are going to just start having sex in the streets. (Wait for it…Marti Gras). Yeah I had a good time there too, that doesn’t make it right.
    What I am trying to say, just because she portrays a person who is helpful and she is sweet and kind doesn’t give her a right to steal from the United States of America, or from the Veterans who have served it.
    I used to be so respectful to this country, what it stood for, who we are as a whole. Now, I don’t know. We have fallen and no one is picking us back up in the right direction, and I do not think it is possible any longer. I believe we will just continue to sink lower and lower. I am ashamed to say it, but if I was rich, I would move to Costa Rica or Ecuador like quite a few of my military buddies already have.
    It is sad how half the Veterans are up in arms about her. She is a grown women, she knows what she is doing. Just because she is a sweet talking, pretty woman makes it even worse in my eyes.

    My suggestion, the Gallows.

    Nick Savage

  5. Ben Hi!
    I know that Gen Hickey, made a difference on Her position! and this is to her credit!
    She gave an enormous sense of “speed up” on her department!
    I have a personal experience on that!
    However:
    Her involvement on the Recent “FRAUD, WASTE, and ABUSE case is COMPLETELY
    UNACCEPTABLE!
    She should know better!
    It is really sad to see, High Executives (and GENERALS) to screw up, that bad, like Her, and other retired Generals.
    Regards
    MSG VAM

  6. I can’t say a negative thing about Allison Hickey.
    Since 2004 I have been fighting the V.A. to get my husband compensation.
    I wrote to Allison and within 6 hours all my husband’s claims were approved and also got 100% total and permanent.
    She saved our family and I will be forever gratefully.
    She is surely going to be missed by many Veterans.
    I also have written a few letters to her and she answered them all late at night and even on the weekend.

  7. There are many employees saying good things about her! Sounds like she did care, and her staff misled her!

    A person in that position has the last word! She had to know about the two lovers and knew they wanted to be together and did let them have their way! And it’s costing her!

    But there are so many veterans denied their benefits all over the country!

    Where was she when they needed help, why is the regional office telling veterans their records were destroyed in a fire, when the veteran was discharged after the fire!

    Where was the department of veterans affairs, when I begged for treatment of my PTSD, when I first got out!

    What was the region office doing when I applied again and again, sending letters we need more information of proof that you were shot!

    VA doctor telling me I have a traumatic brain injury, why did the regional office deny that claim.

    Why did the regional office turn down my claim for migraine headaches, due to the gun shot to the head!

    Why is the VA, letting employees lye about veterans being disruptive and not have to produce any evidence!

    Why are employees at regional office lying to veterans about their claims and after the veteran hired an attorney!

    ALL of his records were found and the veteran given 100 percent disabled!

    The veteran having to suffer with the PTSD and traumatic brain injury!

    The veteran forced to self medicate! Having to use alcohol, which only caused more problems, with the law, family! For fourty years!

    The veteran after hiring an attorney and able after fourty years, to finely get treatment for the alcohol and PTSD!

    And after treatment, the veteran way able to understand what’s going on and with the help of concerned employees, the veteran has to no longer have to drink to keep the demons away!

    Why does the regional office deny claims, with denial letters year after year until the veteran stops trying and when he gets his strength back and finally gets the regional office to listen to the veterans and their lawyer!

    Tell the veteran, you only get paid back to when you last applied! That’s just wrong, when the VA had all the information needed to approve the veterans claim the first time!

    Where was regional office when the law was passed to put the veteran first, when there is doubt! Law: veterans will be given the benefit of the doubt!

    Where was the regional office when I had nightmares and my wife and children could see me sweating and tossing and turning! Kicking and taking in my sleep and wake up crying and not know why!

    Where is the region office now! Doing the same things to our younger veterans!

    Don’t put them through what you made me go through!

    Help the veterans it’s your job and veterans need to know you care, no matter what management tells you just do the right thing and everyone will be happier and better off!

  8. Here’s the latest fubar from VA.
    from “Military dot com”
    “Daily News ”
    “Penn State | Online”

    “Lack of Oversight on Primary Care Staffing Puts Veterans at Risk: GAO”
    23 Oct. 2015
    Military . com | by Bryant Jordan

    This director spoke yesterday….
    Quote;
    “Randall Williamson, director of Health care for the GAO, told the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health that six of seven Veterans Affairs Department medical centers reviewed recently provided flawed, incomplete or erroneous information reflecting how many patients its teams of doctors, nurses and support staff serve.” Unquote.

    In this article, VA says they can fix it. GAO says NO!
    Please google the article and see for yourselves, IS VA is again “cooking the books”?
    Questions,,,
    Could it be because VA can’t get qualified and professional physicians, nurses and support staff to work for them? Could it be IF qualified persons were to work at VA, they would quit shortly thereafter due to what many on here have voiced their opinions on? Could it be because there might be “bonuses” coming soon, and these newly hired healthcare professionals don’t want to get caught up in a quagmire of illegal activities, so they quit?
    How many more veterans have to DIE before VA realizes their precious VA is freaking broke! In my opinion, this VA is getting to sound like a broken record!

    • I have to say that I reached out to Hickey a number of times for help, and each time she responded within a couple of days. Even if the complaint I had did not fall under her, she forwarded to the person in charge of that particular issue which in turn almost forced them to respond and help when they normally would not. Although the VA has many issues, even ones that I have had to fight against, if we keep picking off people that are knowledgeable about their jobs and are really trying to help Veterans, we are going to be in a worse position than we are now. No one is perfect, not even every Vet as I know there are a lot of Veterans that take advantage of the system. We need to truly pick our battles, because I’m sure if you dig dead enough that you will always find something wrong with each person who is doing a job, in and outside of the VA. As far as the new electronic filing system skipping the VSO’s, there are a lot of Veterans who don’t use service officers. For those Veterans this will come in handy. Although, I recommend that every Veteran out there find a good service officer, because there are so many loop holes in the system, that you won’t even know about them until after your done with your last appeal. My wife just received her rating decision for 90%, after it being in for almost 9 years. Had we had the PVA in the beginning we would have probably been done a lot sooner. I myself am an R-2 Rated Veteran, wheelchair bound in need of a care giver. But I have received my aid and attendance but only because I had a service officer from the beginning so it took a lot less time to complete than my wife’s. Before I stop my rant I have one more issue to a comment I saw yesterday, where someone said to Veterans, ” I don’t know what the fuss is about, when you get back pay for the time you wait for your claim to be finished.” Well beyond the common answers to that like we need the money now not later. There is a bigger picture to not having you rating decision, especially if it’s for 100%. That is that when you need to see someone outside of the VA or even inside the VA, I have seen how hard it is to get referrals without having a high rating decision. My wife has so suffered because it is so much harder to get a consult approved when your not service connected at a high rating. Keep fighting my brothers and sisters, just pick the important things to fight for.

      • Noticed, you said they sent the complaint to the service that the problem was the offender and almost got something done!

        A VA employee accused me of disruptive behavior and was not required to provide proof of this actually happening and this was to have happened after I would come in at least twice a month!

        You know for a fact that if someone, anyone is disruptive the employee whom witnessed the disruptive behavior is required to make a report of contact! Right ”

        They could not even show one report!

        Yet every avenue I took looking for someone to help, higher management, did nothing about getting to the truth!

        The only thing they did was give it back to the very same person making the allegations!

        So this employee was able to answer any and ALL inquiries about the situation!

        Why do they let the very same employee, that falsely accusing me of disruptive behavior!

        Even had the director lye to congressman Bennett’s office, that I was never punished, due to the reporting of disruptive behavior!
        The VA does not give two cents what that lady did to me!

        You said there is bad employees or if you search enough you can find something wrong with every everyone anywhere!

        That is true and those employees need to be removed from that position and punished, if not that employee will continue to do the wrong thing!

        Why, because they know they will not be held accountable!

        Two wrongs do not make it right! A lye is a lye no matter how many times you tell it!

        The only thing it does is hurt the veteran and the VA as a whole! As you can see in the news, congress and many, many veterans and we all can’t be lying!

        I have a traumatic brain injury and sounds like yours is worse! Wake up and smell the coffee, without rum!

    • @Timothy,
      Please read my comment again.
      It’s about the VHA, not the VBA side of VA.
      This “article” came out today. Where the GAO Director testified yesterday in front of the Veterans Committee. It is a scathing article concerning VA’s continued “lack of healthcare to veterans within VA”! It also confirmed another aspect on VHA many have thought, yet were not sure of. Read the paragraph I gave directly (quoted) from the article!

      As far as Hickey is concerned, I truly believe what others, like 91Veteran and Stephen LeMaster, on here have stated. These two came up with reasonable, respectful and yet, justifiable “reasons” as to why Gen. Hickey (ret.) should have stepped down. Their “arguments” are, and were, sound. They made sense!

  9. I’ve thought highly of her because she has helped with some of my claims. Before I learned about her resignation, I sent her an email last Friday when my claims had stalled — AGAIN!

    As much as I consider her resignation a setback for my personal claims, I would have also forced her out if it had been my call. She clearly abused her power. It isn’t just about the legality of the relo expenses; it’s also about screwing over one employee to do a favor for a personal friend. Once you see this type of thing going on once, you have to wonder how many more times it’s happened.

    At the core of the issues with the VA, we need people with impeccable and unimpeachable character to straighten things out. The last thing we need is more cronyism, and this appears to be a case of cronyism at its worst.

    I wrote yesterday that all three women involved in this should be indicted, and I stand by that. As grateful as I am to her, if you do the crime, you have to do the time. I look at it this way. For all her posturing as a veterans’ advocate, she abused her power to the tune of nearly half a million bucks. I can’t get past thinking how many veterans could have been helped with that money.

  10. I have mixed thoughts on Hickey. On the one hand it was amazing getting such a fast response to my email to her. In helping many vets like she did, she made herself a huge target for other VA hacks who likely got miffed that she stepped on their toes. On the other hand, knowing how many vets were begging for her help should have told her how massive a problem the VA has, and she should have been demanding action from Gibson and McDonald. I cannot overlook two things. Paying out such a huge amount for Rubens and Graves, no matter what is SOP, policy or the law, that amount being so much higher than travel expenses for others should have warranted a further look by her. Perhaps it was overlooked because of being so busy elsewhere, or perhaps she was pressured to sign off on it because the recipients were in a protected class. Either way, she learned the hard way. The honorable thing would have been to appear before Congress, defend herself if she truly was pressured and let the facts be known.I have also read that she lied in her testimony to Congress about wait times after receiving the facts. Even if she did not know at the time that her testimony was false, she had a duty to correct the record with Congress once she became aware of the facts. In the end, I get the sense she was little more than a scapegoat given the moves by the VA so quickly after her resignation.

  11. I cannot understand people. Charles Manson was probably a great guy to talk to over coffee but does that make him a good person.

    Anyone with morals to do what these V.A. officials did, have no right being an executive to start with.

    It is theft people plan and simple, quit saying she made a mistake. A mistake is forgetting to put the trash out on garbage day.

    What she did was not a mistake, it was clearly a thought out plan to deceive the people of the United States and what it stands for.

    Oh I’m sorry I just killed your family by drunk driving, it was a mistake.
    I’m sorry I just shot your dog because he barks too much it was a mistake.
    I’m sorry I just robbed you at gunpoint. It was a mistake.

    Nick Savage

  12. I doubt if anyone cares what I say here, but here it is: First, what did I miss? Am I reading the past few days of this website wrong? Before I go any further, anyone who wants to follow Ben Krause and support his work for vets I am not going to say I am against that. I will not say anything against him. He went through too much in the service and has helped a lot of vets. Here is my problem though, and I guess it is really is MY problem:

    Second: considering how messed up the VA is, according to Ben’s story today, maybe we should be begging for Hickey to be re-instated. I must really be confused on this one!

    For starters, this is what I don’t get: Why did Ben bring all Hell down on Hickey, do the special piece on “Hickey’s Love Letter, going away note to the VA”, then a couple days later do a story here like she is the crucified VA Messiah?

    I could have sworn I say over 90% of the comments here, maybe more comments than I think any story has ever had here, were HEAVILY against Hickey. I mean the comments put here by disabled vets relative to the Hickey Love Letter and the questionable bonuses that I was pretty sure that Ben himself characterized as “fraud”, in that same piece and/or in another one that followed it this week?!

    But, to me, in my demented, prone-to-misinterpret, severely damaged PTSD mind, this whole thing looks like a bad episode from the “X-Files”, like someone from the VA suddenly switched minds with Agent Fox Mulder or something, but in this case, took control of Ben’s mind. I am sure it is just me.

    In the slightest chance that it turns out to be the case that I am not hallucinating as to my interpretation of this alleged 180 degree turn that Ben had this week on Hickey, I may as well throw in the crazy part. The VA has a LOT at stake in the Hickey ordeal. The VA has endless financial, manpower and facility and systems resources.

    No, that is not the crazy part; this is: Someone associated with the VA drugged and hypnotized Ben, and “turned” him, so he immediately became Pro-Hickey, right after he all but incited an online riot to bring all Hell down on her earlier this week.

    I am sure there are all sorts of explanations ready to go and I missed lots of pieces of the puzzle, and it is likely that I am the only one that sees this as a puzzle to start with.

    Odd that I posted here a day or two ago about how the Pentagon used Psy Ops, or something like that, on McCain and three other Senators a while back. It may have had something to do with the VA, but I don’t remember. Anyway, McCain and the other senators stated to the media that they had not been influenced.

    So, they sure as heck weren’t hypnotized, and certainly no one drugged them along with it. Hey, I said this was crazy. And, obviously, the VA did not pick up on that and then immediately set out to do the same thing to Ben. Okay, I will go back to my cave now, back to my rubber room, and see if I can get into my straight-jacket.

    Hey, it’s working. I think this straight-jacket is kind of like a dog vest, that nice snug feeling, it really calms me down. Wow, the delusions are stopping too. If I continue to do well maybe I can get my butterfly net out and my caregiver/wife can take me for an outing in the backyard tomorrow. Wow, look at those butterflies, millions of them, all around my bedroom. “Honey, do you know where my butterfly net is?”

    • Your last part sounds like you don’t need a net, the rubber room sounds terrific and just the place for you!

      Talk this way to a VA employee that way and you will not only get the jacket and rubber room, but they will get you so high, you probably see elephants or ghosts of the veterans that died in that room!

      As for Ben, he has all his facilities and I doubt if some low life can brain wash him!

      I do believe your right about the VA going after Ben, but their after every veteran!

      Remember we dangerous to the VA, because we seek justice not revenge!

      If employees keep thinking the VA is their personal playground and we are their toys to be played with their wrong!

      Veterans don’t have to punish other people to get their way! They use their minds, remember how to use it, without delusions!

      We need an army of Ben’s, then the playing field would be even!

      Wrong is wrong in any language,even the VA (bad) employees know what that means! They just don’t give a, ,”””:the veteran, just the paycheck!

    • @Bruce – I’m not brain washed. I am disappointed she was linked to unlawful behavior at the end of her 4 years. But I also wanted to highlight the fact that veterans have mixed opinions about her regardless of what transpired in 2014. It is my goal to cover both sides when possible.

      • @Ben,
        In your legal expertise, do you see verifiable illegal acts being committed by these many people? If so, do you believe DOJ, and/or other law enforcement agencies, taking criminal actions against them?
        If your answers are yes. Do you see other VA employees, across America, being drawn into the court system(s) and being prosecuted?
        I’m asking these because I feel veterans need the truth about VA’s egregious acts against us being dealt with vigorously.

      • See, that’s what I appreciate with true investigative reporting because there’s always two faces to any story. Today’s very topic title is about how Veterans are indeed *divided*, so depicting this was logical.
        Thanks for keeping it righteous.

  13. This just in,
    from. “Townhall . com”

    title;
    “By the Way, Obama Just Vetoed a Bipartisan Bill to Fund the Military, Pay Troops”
    Oct. 23, 2015
    by Guy Benson

    I remember back in the late’70s, while still serving my country, the President had not signed the bill which would pay us. There was a lot of pissed off people.
    I wonder whats going to happen come November 11? I believe that’s the cut off date, concerning the “temporary budget fix” that’s in place now?

    • I may be incorrect but I thought the Temporary Budget Resolution or whatever these grandstanders call it now (everything BUT Balancing The Budget), they gave themselves until Dec. 11…correct me if wrong, but I remember thinking to myself that what a way to manipulate…Ted Cruz and Obama will be standing off talking about the Grinch stealing Christmas from the kids…while not mentioning a thing about Troops and fact that we are STILL in year 14 of WAR…nothing like a huge velocity blast of a ‘Morale Turd’ as a ‘Thank You’ from you very Commander In Chief…all corrupt…

      • @namnibor, yep your correct. It was December 11. My mistake.

        Unlike Hickey, people should learn how to admit to mistakes! Only, Hers was definitely MORE than just a simple mistake.

        Did y’all see where I got to say the difference between a “mistake”, and a real fubar? lol.

  14. Dear Mr. Krause:

    Personally, I am out of this one, all I will say is if any wrong doing has been proven against her, that is, if all veterans are not getting the recognition and treatment that they should from her then by all means treat her just as any other wrongdoer would do not give her any more consideration without looking at how pretty she is because in a case like that she can do as much damage and injustice to us as anyone else.

  15. I e-mailed Hickey about the Indy VAMC not looking back at my previous VAMC medical records and therefore the Indy VAMC is treating me how they want to. They are not recognizing my service connected disability, they are stating I have something else and at a lower percent. I informed Allison that I had contacted everyone at the Indy VAMC and everything fell on deaf ears.
    She replied back in about six hours and it was a Saturday. I thought that something good was going to happen. I was wrong, she told me that she had forwarded my e-mail to the Indy VAMC Patient Advocate. This is the person to whom I had informed her would do nothing to help. So as a result, nothing was done and nothing has been done.
    I am now being weaned off of my pain medication because the Indy VAMC sees nothing wrong with me. They want to put me on NSAIDS. I cannot take NSAIDS and it is clearly state that way in my previous VAMC records and in the Indy VAMC records.
    As I have put in here before, I am homeless because of the Indy VAMC. I am currently living in transitional housing and I have been working at a job I like since July. I was starting to look for places to move into as I am on the edge of not being homeless. Now I will most likely have to quit my job, continue living here and I have no future to look forward to. This is so disheartening as I have done everything I am supposed to do as I want to get out of being homeless so bad. Now it seems I will forever be homeless and that sucks. I do not want to be a burden on society and a “welfare case”, I want to work, have my own place and enjoy the res of my life. That is all.
    Thanks for letting me vent. If is very frustrating to fight so hard and to keep getting knocked down. Sad
    f8f

    • Again, if your disability for PTSD, call Kenneth carpenter office out of topeka Kansas, if not for PTSD ask Katherine his assistant If there is anyone they can recommend!

      Explain, that you are about to become homeless! I’m truly sorry that the department of veterans affairs, is once again hurting one of our fellow veterans!

      I know this probably will not work as fast as you need!

      It the same story as many other veterans, were higher management wants nothing to due with helping the veteran!

      They use this ploy of passing the buck back to the very same employee that is hurting the veteran!

      Knowing that you will not be helped and hope you will say something anything and you placed into the disruptive committee and punished for only trying to get help!

      Call McDonald and tell them what their doing to you and then send an email to McDonald!

      Call your senators, congressman maybe just maybe they will help you!

      More and more veterans are being chastised, when employees don’t do what their job description called for!

      TO many employees are playing GOD like, but their god lives in the depth of hell!

      They think just because they hold a little power, they abuse it, as an ego trip and this mentally must be stopped!

      Not tomorrow, but know! How much more can we take, we can not leave our brothers and sisters left blowing in the wild!

      We are our brothers keeper!

      • James,
        I have been homeless since I came back in Aug. 2014 so you can see how bad I want to leave the homelessness behind.

        I am not service for PTSD but for my knees. I am in Indiana and I do not know if Topeka would be able to help

        I have e-mailed McDonald and I will e-mail him again Mon. I will get his number and call him as well.

        You have no idea how big the God complex is here at the Indy VAMC. It is “do what I tell you to do”, “I do not have to listen to your petty concerns”, “We are so above any of you vets”. It is terrible, when you are called a liar, threatened, ignored, are stereotyped as a “worthless drug addict” because you are homeless (I do not have any problem with abusing drugs!) and they feel that because you are homeless, you do not deserve any treatment above the minimum treatment and you have to fight for that.
        My fight is going away and I know that is want they want. They want me to give up and follow their dictatorship. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!
        Thanks for the help.
        f8f

      • If you were in country where the battle was and it effects your life, sleeping etc!

        That could be considered PTSD and could get the treatment you deserve!

        Yes and I repeat never stop replying to their denials! Because one day someone will come along and get those types of employees out and put them in the street and see how they like it!

        It should be mandatory that anyone wanting to work for the VA, be a veteran!

        Enough of these employees who have no clue what it is to be in the military!

        Many need to go or shut down the VA and let veterans choose their own doctor and if that doctor does not work out the veteran can find one that cares and not integrate you in an effort to belittle you! And puts lyes or twist the veterans words!

        Example, I was asked, do you hear voices! Answer in a kidding way, well I did hear someone calling my name and I think it was someone from inside the buildings (work) !

        They didn’t see I was joking, even when I laughed!
        Veteran hears voices!

        Just an example, they will twist your words, so don’t joke with them, they have no sense of humor!

      • @James,
        I’m with you. I also will never “joke” with anyone in the VA!
        If anyone is the “joke”, it’s the VA employees!!! Hell, when I go to any VA, I “show & tell” all the negative news articles to as many employees AND patients as possible. So, you can bet I’m on some form of “disruptive list”! Only, I truly don’t give a sh!t. It’s like a few on here have said, don’t “Stand Down” – “Stand Up and Be Counted!”

      • elf,
        It was an actual story that I thought was going to be on the news. It was on a news show after the news so I don’t think it got the same amount of viewers. It was just a “news report” and did not use much of what I said. I tried to get the reporter to look into more of the VA at a higher level than local but it was a no go.
        At least it was broadcast on the news. I have not seen or heard of anything that has become of it. This state seems to hide anything bad that has to do with the VA. There is not the uproar on things like there should be. I am sure the Robin Paul e-mail thing would have been swept under the rug if it had not received the attention it did. The Indy VAMC gets away with whatever it wants to do and it appears that there is nothing that can be done. I am trying but after a year, nothing. The Indy VAMC thinks it is above any recourse for anything they do. If something goes wrong or hurts a veteran, it is “oh well, what else can we try to do to them”. We veterans’ deserve better.
        f8f

      • @James,
        Are you sure the county had the billboard removed?
        I’ve e-mailed a few of the county leaders, with absolutely NO reply!
        Of course, that’s normal down here!

      • @James,
        You may not have heard the story concerning a “bar & restaurant owner” who fought city hall and WON over the “Military Flags (Army, Navy, Marine etc.,) he was displaying down here in Daytona Beach” in front of his business….
        This week my wife and I are going to pay him a visit. Since he loves controversy, we discussed this and we will see if he can’t do something about it.
        He’s a Former Marine. He loves a good fight!

  16. To All,
    I get emails from “EIN” “NEWS DESK”.
    “International Employment Today”
    Sometime in the past week I received this article. I finally got a chance to read it. Sorry it took so long.
    ‘It’ came to EIN, then to the “Government Executive” management. Or visa versa.
    The articles title is;

    “VA Managers Reportedly Curse, Dish About Sex, and Force Workers to Ask Permission to Use the Bathroom”
    written by,
    Kellie Lunney | Oct 19, 2015

    It’s an extremely scathing article, IF true!
    According to this article, “…Secretary Bob McDonald…” “…requested…” the “American Federation of Government Employees” (AFGE) to evidently conduct an (investigation) into mismanagement by VA upper management.
    Again, according to the article, “Local [Union] 17” had gotten involved and submitted their “..,40 page report…” to Sec. McDonald “…in July.”

    When you google, and read this article, be advised that the “complaints that had been lodged” are only circumstantial and have not been confirmed. I believe there needs to be further investigations concerning this issue by a “third disinterested party”!

    At the same time, these are my thoughts and opinions, IF only half of these allegations are true. I believe someone’s “head must roll”! Also, it sounds as though these VA employees are “…being treated as grade school pupils.”
    We here have (probably) heard many “employees, current and retired” complain about those in upper management. They, a majority, talk a good talk, but are too cowardly to come forward. Especially when they had witnessed a veteran/patient being abused. SAD!
    I also have to add, Why did it take so long for this to hit the news? In essence, Was Old Bobby sitting on it, because of the seriousness of these allegations? There’s many questions Old Bobby should answer concerning this issue!
    I leave it up to y’all. What do you think?

    • He should speak to the American people and have a lye detector attached to him and the graft shown on live t.v., let Ben ask the questions!

      Would be good VA art!

      • @James,
        Wouldn’t be a wondrous day, if say, more than 60% to 80% of all VA employees (the ones on the front line, not upper management) were to walk outside every VA hospital and clinic and protest VA’s inability to help and take care of veterans?! That would be a sight to behold…..
        They did it in Detroit, i believe, a few months ago. Now it needs to be done Nationwide…

      • elf,
        But HilLIARy states that there is no problem with the VA. It is only the republicans’ who are saying this. She is so out of touch. If anyone wants to watch the interview you were referring to, I will put the link below.
        It would be nice to see that happen. If it did that would allow Ol’ Bob the ability to request more money because they will need it for some reason that they would relate to this and of course put it in their pocket.
        Here is the link:

        ww.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/clinton-frustrated-by-slow-progress-on-va-550929987592

        add a “w” to the two and it will take you to the video.
        f8f

  17. I sent her an email about how VA committed forgery and fraud and cheated me out my disability for the last 30 years. A ten old could see the forgery. VA know they committed forgery and fraud they do not want to that pay worth over $300,000. To tell the if they could get away with it no one ever get disability. I can tell you and show you how they cheat veteran’s. This come from a thorough investigation. Most veteran’s don’t know what to look for and the service organizations for what have seen work for VA. You have to take in the disability claim nothing goes without your knowledge. The service organizations must show you and explain the process. If you are not part the investigation VA will be allow to cheat you. VA is an HMO camouflaged. I have the proof my proof unmistakable and undeniable.

    • I have been tossed as most of us have under the bus and it has been going on for decades! I have recently received medical records and it shows that a doctor Brian Richardson of the Martinez, California VA Medical Health Clinic got me fired by Chevron by what he said! I know I am not the only one but it still goes on and those low life can’t get a job on the outside doctor’s get that bonus or case of KY because they don’t like it rough! FTVA, Hillary and Obama too! One good bit of news Allison Hickey quit, oh, yeah!

  18. To All,
    Last night a buddy of mine called. He told me of an “interview” Hillary did on MSNBC on friday, 24 Oct. 2015 concerning the VA.
    He said it was disgusting to watch. So this morning I googled,
    “MSNBC interview of Hillary and Rachel Maddow over veterans administration”

    What I got was a number of ‘sites’ about this. The one that stuck out was from “Hot Air”, reported by Jazz Shaw. “18 hours ago”.
    titled;

    “Hillary: Hey, that VA scandal wasn’t that big of a deal”

    During the “interview” (video) Hillary states “VA’s problems aren’t as ‘widespread’ as the Republicans claim”! How detached from reality can she be? I hate to break it to her, but it ain’t only the Republicans going after VA.
    Plus, didn’t she watch the Democrats push back a bill earlier this month, where they (VA) wanted MORE taxpayers money? And it was granted! I bet she’s like most politicians. Where they believe throwing MORE good money after bad is the key to running the government. No matter how bad something is just keep stuffing it with taxpayers money!
    Doesn’t she keep up with the news medias? Oh, wait, she also blames the news medias for blasting VA and making it worse than it really is. Saying “there been a number of polls taken”, where “most veterans like the care received at VA!” (paraphrasing). I’d like to know what ‘polls’ she’s referring to?
    People, take a “trip” with Hillary. She must still be “high” after that 11 hour “grilling” she received the day before!

    • I also want to say this about Hillary’s abhorrent conduct Thursday (23 Oct. 2015) at the “Benghazi Hearings”. She was very hesitant to give testimony concerning one specific “item”. That is, during her tenure as Secretary of State, she hedged on the MANY communique sent to her “begging for more protection for our consulate members”!
      This is, in my opinion, an important fact that she was NOT performing her duties and/or responsibilities to the individuals there. Again, in my opinion, she ignored these pleas for more protection!
      For this, she should be punished.
      That being said. I want y’all to know. In the “Library of Congress” there are “letters” written by Gen. George Washington to the Continental Congress beginning with these words;
      “Is anyone there?” and “Can anyone hear…!”
      These letters were in response to the Continental Congress’s inaction to “supply the troops” with the necessary items needed to defeat the British, ie; weapons, gun powder, flints, patches, food et cetera.
      Does any of y’all see the similarities here. Evidently this is not new with our government. It is, on the other hand, an appalling situation that occurs quite often. It should be stopped NOW!

Comments are closed.