An investigation into the agency’s mishandling of the Forever GI Bill transition and subsequent cleanup is being demanded by bipartisan lawmakers.

“The VA’s continued ambiguity about whether it will fulfill this legal requirement threatens to erode our veterans’ confidence in the VA’s ability to deliver promised care and benefits and demands close oversight and accountability,” the lawmakers wrote Friday. “It is important that VA fix the technical and staffing shortages that contributed to its inability to implement the Forever GI bill so that it can continue to provide housing stipends to veterans.”

The Forever GI Bill was supposed to be set for implementation August 2018. Agency leadership repeatedly promised Congress the software system was ready for prime time. Not only did VA blow it, but leadership basically flipped the bird to veterans and Congress saying the agency would simply make up its own interpretation of the clear statute to justify its failure.

Whoops.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie quickly walked back that position Thursday afternoon following a second poor showing by VBA Undersecretary Paul Lawrence before Congress explaining the agency’s outrageous position. I previously thought he was a good choice, but his repeat failures to adequately address the GI Bill issue to Congress has left me and others wondering.

Lawmakers were not impressed, either. They are now demanding an investigation by IG to find out how VA got the GI Bill implementation so wrong. GI Bill is the crown jewel of benefits, and this particular screw up after receiving hundreds of millions in funding to maintain the GI Bill program over the past 8 years leaves everyone scratching their head as to why the agency still uses a 40-year-old database when processing claims.

The lawmakers asked the inspector general to investigate the following, as stated by NBC on the demand letter:

  • Will VA apply the Forever GI Bill housing stipend rates to make retroactive payments to GI Bill beneficiaries?
  • If not, what legal authority did the VA have to ignore the law?
  • Who is responsible for determining which veterans can receive retroactive payments?
  • How and when will VA process those payments?
  • How have VA’s investment in its computer infrastructure at its regional processing centers affected delays in implementing the law?
  • How have staffing shortages at regional processing centers contributed to delays?
  • How is VA leadership organized to address computer infrastructure challenges at those processing centers?
  • How is VA leadership organized to address staffing shortages throughout the organization?

Sen. John Boozman was not pleased with the revelations and demands assurances from VA that Wilkie intends to follow through with his promise to pay veterans what they are owed.

“When recent news reports suggested the VA was not acting to help veterans who have been shortchanged, the department outlined its plans to remedy the situation,” Boozman said. “Those plans fall short. These veterans must be fully repaid for errors they did not cause and that is what I expect the VA to do.”

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs is also looking into next steps for accountability.

Again, how did the House Committee on Veterans Affairs blow it regarding oversight of implementation for the Forever GI Bill system? We may find out once power shifts next years as Democrats lead the Committee for the first time in 8 years.

Even with an IG investigation, will any outcome change the corrupt culture within the agency that led up to this failure?

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17 COMMENTS

  1. The VA has been scratching their head so long they’ve hit bone. Nothing new here, just more of the same ole schit.

    • They’ve been scratching their head so long that they have hit that forever fat reservoir of AFGE ass….they shall be at that location until hell freezes over because there’s a lot of ass reservoir…they make bears envy in their efforts to hibernate…AFGE employees only need to sit at industrial weight-testing furniture and close eyes…no extra eating required…maybe the blood of a Veteran here and there to keep things moving along…assholes!

  2. It’s my hypothesis that this “G.I. Bill Mess” was NOT an accident….they simply got CAUGHT! That would explain their asshole solution to just WING IT as the VA crows fly….VA, a fresh post-Thanksgiving fuck-off and die…Medicare for ALL.

  3. nothing is going to happen. Nothing ever has except the vets got thrown under the various busses.
    On another notion. With Bush passing, all I hear is “the GREAT generation of WWII” what the fuck, were the Korean and Vietnam as well as the Mid East vets chopped liver?

  4. It isn’t just GI Bill Delivery. The VA can’t deliver my hard copy medical file to replace items that have been removed from my C&P file that are probative in my CAVC appeal. Filing a motion to order the IG to investigate what happened to my file and others. The BVA Judge responded in the hearing, LOL, “we can’t even get those records.” I want to know why because the answer in itself is probative.

  5. The Congressional inquiry is all for show. If Congress cared, the VA wouldn’t be the Charlie Foxtrot that it is. The VA’s blundering became obvious enough that Congress has to pretend to give a rat’s ass. They’ll bloviate, maybe sacrifice some VA minion. Then they’ll go right back to genuflecting to the gods of Pig Pharma/Med and the DoD criminal enterprises, which compete with those pesky veterans for precious federal funding resources.

  6. This was the first e-mail I looked at when I got up was this one. When I read “the VA’s ability to deliver promised care and benefits and demands close oversight and accountability,” the lawmakers wrote Friday.” I just shook my head reading it, because I think I’ve heard this over a hundred times at least about a hundred different other problems that come to light every year. The VA ignoring a congressional mandated law and making their own? Seems the VA will do whatever they want to do, but the only thing that ALWAYS stays the same is the Vets are always the ones that suffer the consequences. I’m convinced Congress and the VA and the IG don’t give a whoop about Vets, just getting a story out about how they’re going to do more “oversight and accountability” which fades away till the next huge VA problem pops up….

  7. VA willfully ignores Congress, and Congress doesn’t care. In 2008 Congress passed HR 5729 — The VA Spina Bifida Program Improve and Expansion Act — mandating changes to 38 US 1803 creating WONDERFUL benefits for clients of the VA Spina Bifida Program. For ten years, VA has just silently refused to implement the law. After TEN YEARS my daughter Honey Sue is the ONLY SB Program client receiving ANY of the 38 US 1803 benefits. Honey Sue, because of my family’s stridency receives the full menu of the 38 US 1803 benefits, No other client of the SB Program receives ANY of the 38 US 1803 benefits. Congress pretends this isn’t happening. VA recently said, that Honey Sue is the only one of the thousands of VA SB Program clients, who has ever followed the “proper procedure” to access the 38 US 1803 benefits.

  8. THIS IS ALL ABOUT THE DOD WANTING THE DEFENCE HEALTH AGENCY TO TAKE OVER THE VA AND THAT 200 BILLION THAT COMES WITH IT. THE TWO MOST CORRUPT ORGANISATIONS IN THE WORLD THE DEFENCE DEPT AND THE VA BOTH HAVE BEEN RUN BY THE RING KNOCKERS (WEST POINTERS) BY THE WAY HOW MANY NEW WEST POINTERS ACTUALLY COMPLETE THIER OBLIGATION. FOOTBALL PLAYERS ONLY HAVE TO DUE 2YRS.

  9. when will theva and congress both bet it together so the disabled veteran can go on with a happy long life [HOPEFULLY ]I MY SELF have been waithin for an appeal i put ie for 3 years ago on [AGENT ORANGE ] AND CANCER ,,,,,NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN I NOW HAVE [LUNG CANCER ] INOPERABLE ..,, I ONLY HOPE TO GET IT BEFORE YOU KNOW WHAT ,,,???HAVE A NICE DAY ,, AND THANK U FOR LETTING ME REPLY ..

  10. First came Lawrence of Arabia and now we have Lawrence the Loser.

    My God smile gently down upon his faithfull veteran warriors.

  11. I empathize with all of the previous responses. In review of historic data, there is this repetitive cycle within the VA of getting caught of a wrongdoing, denying until you no longer can, appeasing the legal and private sector with expectation of righting the wrong until people forget about it and then everything goes back to business as usual. How can this be happening?

    Well, perhaps it is due to a lack of justice fighters to do the fighting? The DOD and VA are HUGE and have been playing this game for a very long time; experts at taking advantage and padding their pockets with taxpayer’s money that was instead supposed to be allocated to good, well-intended government programs. These kind of programs represent the good-hearted people that inhabit this country and what makes it great. Too bad not everyone has the same vision.

    A word of thanks to all of those individuals that are keeping up with the “good” fight! It is exhausting and I appreciate your fortitude, perseverance and integrity.

    Godspeed

  12. I agree with most Veterans, nothing has changed and nothing will change until the closed doors at VA are opened and Veterans are given access to real health care, privatize VHA. This won’t happen because Congress, and most Americans don’t really care about Veterans. I guess this is how it will be with nazi socialist ruining things

  13. We’re human beings here, disabled human beings, disabled veterans. They ask questions, not so they can get at the truth, but so they can cover up the truth, before they have to give the answers the questions. The VA should already have the answers to those questions, and if they don’t it’s incompetence. This isn’t particle physics. Anyways, they will do what they want, because they know there will be no real accountability. Meanwhile lives are being upended. It’s like namnibor said up above, this was not an accident.

  14. 12/03/2018

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    The question is…Even with an IG investigation, will any outcome change the corrupt culture within the agency that led up to this failure?

    NO!

    Benjamin Krause what are we looking at? It real is not corruption. The term is too soft for this behavior.

    The IG is jointed to the hip of the Veterans Administration, they will go on like this until it has to take a hard right or hard left depending on who is influencing the VA.

    In the past we all have seen the IG dodge the bullet: Veterans Crisis Line Fails To Collect Data On Post-Call Suicides, Ignores Earlier IG Audit; VA Secretary Obstructing IG Audit Of Criminal Allegations; The OIG conducted a review to determine whether Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) staff assigned correct effective dates on claims for compensation benefits with an intent to file (ITF); fraud allegations with the Compensation and Pension (C&P) /Audiology examinations; half of disability claims for veterans seeking benefits for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) were botched; VBA staff generally did not tell veterans about additional SMC benefits; VA OIG refuses to investigate until the lawsuit is resolved; MDLinx, ABC overbilled Medicare, TRICARE, and the Department of Veterans Affairs; OIG was unable to substantiate that the patient received inappropriate care during cardiac surgery that ultimately led to death–VAOIG Report Number: 17-04875-308; VAOIG Reports you just feel are stupid. The VAOIG blames lack of Veteran input as the reason the VA is still breaking the law in Los Angles—Report Number: 18-00474-300; OIG to probe sterilization protocols at Connecticut VA; VA OIG Report On Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Disability Scandal; SDVOSB contractors holding DoD contracts; IG Rips Veterans Affairs Over Caregiver Program Mismanagement; audited the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA’s) Office of Community Care (OCC) to determine the accuracy of bulk payments made to third party administrators (TPAs) under contracts that include care provided through the Veterans Choice Program; New York’s Stratton VA Medical Center misrepresented the outcomes of cancer surgeries [“VAOIG protecting murders”]; DRRTP is part of the Bath VA Medical Center OIG determined that the facility’s fiscal year 2017 positive UDS tracking data was inaccurate; Office of Special Counsel released a letter to the whistleblowers admitting the Denver OIG office “did not have sufficient work to keep all employees fully engaged on active projects”; OIG confirms EHR wait time wrongdoing in VA system; OIG Finds VA Fails to Meet FISMA, FITARA Health IT Security; Integrated Support Network 6 (VISN 6); (OIG) report, the Veterans Benefits Administration neglected to implement appropriate audit logs that would identify information security violations in the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS); VA details response to OIG’s recommendations at Phoenix VA; Department of Veterans Affairs are not sufficiently adhering to suicide prevention and treatment protocols for high-risk patients, according to a new report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG); Memphis VA Medical Center, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reports. Critical flaws in the clinical workflow, including poor EHR documentation habits, shortcuts that bypassed interaction alerts, and insufficient monitoring of patients in the emergency; “Tampa VA called their henchman the OIG”; .” Seven days later, on December 2, 2009, the OIG closed its investigation without taking further action. The documents obtained by Judicial Watch also detail repeated efforts by VA whistleblower Oliver Mitchell, a Marine veteran and former patient services assistant, to persuade the OIG to fully investigate the mass destruction of veterans’ medical files and the cancellation of examination requests. The documents, dating back to 2009, reveal that OIG”; HOUSE VA SUBCOMMITTEE RANKING MEMBERS CALL FOR IG INVESTIGATION AND COMMITTEE HEARING ON REPORTS OF UNACCOUNTABLE INFLUENCE AT VA BY FRIENDS OF PRESIDENT TRUMP; ” The Office of the Inspector-General (OIG) found “a sense of futility pervaded offices at multiple levels.” In other words, the people in charge do not act as though they are in charge. Failure is inevitable, not within human control”; missing equipment; Mount Vernon VA CBOC, part under the Seattle VA.
    Long story short, the (mental health) staff are overwhelmingly withholding necessary daily medications from Veteran’s; unqualified VA Mental Health Prescribers; IG Rips Veterans Affairs Over Caregiver Program Mismanagement; OIG also found that VHA did not correctly apply eligibility criteria when enrolling veterans; OIG found clinicians and CSCs either did not adequately document the extent that veterans’ health conditions changed or they failed to routinely monitor veterans and their caregivers before the reassessment leading to their program discharge; OIG recommended designating additional program oversight, applying program criteria to ensure eligibility determinations are accurate, ensuring veteran applications are processed within the 45-day standard, consistently monitoring and documenting veterans’ health statuses, and establishing guidelines for when a veteran’s need for care changes; OIG made particular mention of the MILLIONS that were “potentially” overpaid to veterans’ caregivers due to the overt lack of oversight in the program—What the OIG went to pains to avoid discussing is the other side of that coin ~ how many MILLIONS did the program NOT pay out to those who were revoked or reduced in tier unlawfully; OIG did not address the root cause of the impetus for the investigation; that tens of thousands of veterans were revoked or reduced in tier and while trapped in VA fiefdom’s of VISN-only control, the “program executive” continues to claim that the program is still growing at alarming rates and of course therefore, needs MORE MONEY; VA OIG shows the Department of Veterans Affairs scheming against military sexual trauma survivors out of benefits, as if the trauma of rape is not enough—Based on its sample, the OIG estimated that VBA staff incorrectly processed about 1,300 of the 2,700 MST-related claims denied during the review period April 2017 through September 2017; A 2012 OIG review found that, on average, patients seeking first-time mental-health care from the Veterans Health Administration did not get comprehensive evaluations for more than seven weeks; “…2013 complaint to the OIG, Dr. Mitchell noted, “At least four of the suicides I have reviewed are related to poorly controlled pain [OIG inquiry that apparently did not occur]”; The OIG found prosthetists incorrectly used NOC codes to classify prosthetic items when existing codes adequately described the items; allegation of releasing private information illegally; Stratton VA Medical Center research foundation–Veterans would die as a result of the research.

    [info from just four books]

    Currently the 155 Hospital are still in jeopardy of huge management failures as the VA/OIG refuse to cooperate with the Senate.

    Don Avant August 21, 2018 at 9:01 am

    The OIG is a dog with no teeth. Separate the OIG from the VA and give it subpoena power. Then give it the judicial power to compel compliance with the power to jail for non-compliance.

    What is wrong with this suggestion from Don Avant?

    Treason is the term that encompasses all the tragic acts this RICO institution has conducted over the decades as they defrauded the American Public.

    Sincerely,

    Don Karg

  15. @Don K. I’ve read your words before. Same words. Other Veterans on this site have read those words. So, why is it that what you said, goes ignored? With all Don K said, why can’t we file a class action lawsuit? Anyway, if nothing changes, then, nothing changes. We Veterans are gonna have to make a stand. I for one, am running out of fighting time. Kinda like a final stand. I’ve got a good year or so…. Don’t rush it,

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