MMQB: VA Scandals All Rooted In Money

VA Scandals rooted in Money

Benjamin KrauseCan America keep track of the VA scandals and all their connections to money by the time this election cycle rolls around?

Republicans stand to make substantial gains in the veteran vote should Democrats fail to reel in its Veterans Affairs and those criminal staff still working at the agency.  But this is unlikely. Lately, every day I read the news, I am greeted with a new bonanza of VA douche-baggery or some other kind of misdeed that harms veterans.

Even President Obama’s own investigation declared VA to be rampant with a “corrosive culture” that can only be fixed with a near overhaul.

There are currently more VA scandals actively in play right now than I have seen in recent history. Last week, Rep. Jeff Miller declared the current Veterans Affairs to be the most scandalous in agency history. I think he is right, and the one piece to the puzzle that is central across all VA scandals existing today is money. At the 30,000 ft view, VA looks like little more than an insurance company for DoD that mitigates the cost of war to the best of its ability. Lately, those attempts to keep costs down look like they veered onto the wrong side of the law.

Hi and welcome to another edition of Monday Morning Quarterback for Veterans (MMQB). I am your host, Benjamin Krause, creator of

The point of this MMQB will be to highlight how the nation is waking up to the plight of veterans. We at are doing our part, and this article will give insight into that fight. This MMQB will be shorter than normal due to the holiday, and I will use it to highlight the major scandals currently in play over this past couple years that are still unresolved.

Here are the scandals we will make note of today. Give me some feedback if you recall a specific scandal I left off the list. The common theme running through all these scandals has everything to do with money.

These are the most serious I could think of:

  1. Suicide rate skyrockets
  2. Health care wait list
  3. Disability backlog fix
  4. Fiduciary rip-off
  5. Bonus rip-off
  6. VA software rip-off


1. Suicide rate for young veterans skyrockets

Compared to older veterans, the suicide rate for veterans under 30 years old has increased 44 percent from 2009 to 2011. This indicates VA is not addressing the needs of young veterans, many of whom are recently returning from combat. Current estimates show approximately 22 veterans commit suicide per day. This is a scandal because VA has doled out millions of dollars to health care facilities across the country, but those facilities still lag well behind the need. Whistleblowers report the money was misspent in some facilities and given back to central office in others. The fear in various medical centers is that new blood will help root out their control over local policies that allow well paid doctors to see only half the number of patients as in the private sector.

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2. Health care wait list scandal

VA employees were caught gaming the wait list system to improve the appearance of performance numbers to central office. The scandal killed veterans because of delayed treatment times, while VA staff appeared to be performing above average. Many VA employees received bonuses during this period. VA refused to send veterans outside of the VA health care system to avoid ramping up fee costs from private care providers.

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3. Disability backlog still a problem, linked to Obamacare

I was shocked to learn that even Obamacare somehow slipped into the scandals plaguing VA. Last April, Under Secretary Allison Hickey announced a new plan to reduce the delay for veterans to receive disability compensation benefits. In theory, the plan sounded okay, but VA managed to screw it up. In practice, the plan merely funneled more claims through the claims process, but it simultaneously increased the number of poorly adjudicated claims due to the rush which created an appeals backlog. VA then redefined what it reported within its “backlog” numbers to make it appear that the agency was on track. To make matters worse, VA executives pulled employees off the backlog to work on an Obamacare promotion. We learned of this fact last week. So on the one hand, some VA executive somewhere tried to earn brownie points from Obama by redirecting work flows. Meanwhile, VA still was withholding veterans’ payments and making bad decisions that effectively reduce the overall payout of VA for disability.

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4. VA lacks effective fiduciary oversight

The agency still struggles with oversight related to its fiduciary program where third parties are often in charge of a veteran’s finances. If VA determines the veteran is unable to manage his or her own finances, the agency unilaterally assigns a fiduciary. Problems are created because the veteran is denied effective due process and occasionally the agency makes the decision incorrectly. The practice is largely unconstitutional, and the agency has admitted it is unable to effectively evaluate complaints from veterans where the fiduciary is improperly managing the funds.

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5. Bonus rip-off

VA employees at scandal riddled facilities across the country received bonuses despite the obvious problems within its own rating system. Delays in wait time measures were supposed to be included within the rating system. This fact serves to link illegal behavior defrauding veterans of needed health care to the current VA bonus structure, which could be construed as fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud in certain instances.

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6. VA software rip-off

Veterans Affairs is constantly coming up with new ways it can improve its software systems, but the systems never work. Recently, VA admitted its new eBenefits system was nothing like VA executives sold Congress – now over 300,000 benefits claims are set to be deleted from the system. The GI Bill processing system was not finished in 2013, and is not slated to be finished in 2014 despite over $263 million in spending and being only half done. VA and DoD spent over a billion on figuring out how to make VA’s VistA system talk with DoD’s health care system. The study concluded the agencies did not know enough to make clear decisions, after spending $1 billion.

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Did I miss one?

Add a scandal I may have missed from this list. I plan to start a Krause Report – kind of like Drudge Report except nonpartisan and veteran focused. Please lend a hand by posting links to other scandals below. I am sure I left a few out.



Voc Rehab Survival GuideBenjamin Krause is an award winning investigative reporter, Veterans Benefits Law attorney, and disabled veteran of the US Air Force, where he served in its Special Operations Command. He attended Northwestern University and  the University of Minnesota Law School using VA Vocational Rehabilitation.

While in law school, Benjamin won his decade-long fight for full disability benefits and now helps others do the same with this website and his guide, the Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans. Since its first publication in 2011, the guide has helped the veteran community receive millions in untapped benefits through the VA Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment program. 

Connect with Benjamin on  Google+,  Twitter,  Facebook and LinkedIn.

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  3. 2000 the Atlanta ga. VA stole 10 million in benefit funds by bringing back dead vets, and making up phony claims, and paying themselves.

  4. Really awful reading how many entities have a part in taking funds provided for veterans & giving shoddy care or media “help”. Recently I read an info-packed article at WP ( Why we stuck with Maliki…and lost…) Is such is true.. would imply that many “players” did not care about future of Iraq (not my place to say, but why not “play to win” our true policy needs??) Curious HOW MANY scams launched on sttary-eyed youg privates (SM’s) >>>just today I got an email “job offer” (not clear what job !) from a small contractor. Imagine they ll ask for all my histories, SSN, any pot in my youth, references (get the pic) My email address was MASKed in her offer(?) ! …got me thinking. Put brakes on it as it seems familiar. Is this another scam played on vets (collect privacy data, pad firm’s “hiring” of vets. Just a question from a vet who sees much ‘bandwagon-ing’ to help us thanks

  5. I think that the VA has an annual budget of about 152 billion dollars, according to interwebs, and I further think that any time you have that big of a money pile in one place, you’re going to start seeing people at their worst.It’s not enough that billions fall off army trucks overseas, one more time, vets get the hose by assuming that the management of the VA is one bit better than the management of the military itself. On paper, it looks great, noble charter, and all that jazz. In real life, it fully has the potential to degenerate into a full-fledged larceny farm, with taxpayer abuse aplenty.

    I think that the military promises too much to too many people in the effort to get them to join, without much thought for the car wreck on the far end that’s bound to follow. Maybe the VA can work to get their hospitals up to snuff, by running open books, and soliciting feedback and information not only from the veteran’s community, but also from the general public, as well as civilian hospitals, in the effort to straighten out their operation, and have a much better and clearer understanding of what happens, to all that money. People on the receiving end aren’t likely to willingly ruin what for them is probably a good thing, but if the money gets sucked out of the apparatus by the usual suspects, what’s left to run the hospitals, finally?

  6. Good round up. You asked if missed one and you did. Item 7 is rationed necessary diagnostic lab work and testing in order to catch things early enough to treat and also prevent misdiagnosis. Probably more needless veterans early deaths then the suicides, waitlist combined and improperly sanitized equipment combined. .

  7. Not to demoralize the Obama supporters here any further…

    but why is Obama refusing to personally visit us veterans at the VA hospitals we use?

    Are we veterans tainted or something?

    Can’t Obama give us veterans at least the modicum of respect by showing up at VA hospitals throughout America to show his support for us?


    I mean why should we settle for his sinister-looking portrait that shows him leering maniacally on every front wall of a VA hospital?

    Oh, wait.

    That’s right.

    Fund-raising is more important to him than us veterans.

    And soon enough, the very same Obama supporters will vote again for another caricature of Obama, and that new President will also place their portrait on the very wall that Obama’s portrait once hung.

    And, yes, that new President will ignore us veterans, and, as the VA scandals continue to fester and grow with Stage IV cancerous growth, we veterans will finally know our place, on our knees, subservient, and submissive before our new ruler.

  8. See how many big wig degenerates are opting out of the VA in Washington D.C. after the “Bonus” was no longer going to be handed out for the many veterans they have screwed. FTVA!

  9. And the hits just keep on coming…

    Remember when Obama deliberately put online the unsecure Obamacare website earlier this spring?

    Obama did not care that tens of millions of American individuals’ personal healthcare information were left vulnerable to hackers and criminals.

    Well, Obama did the same thing to us military veterans earlier this spring when he deliberately broke federal law by allowing a software glitchy VA eBenefits system to be used by veterans.

    This unsecure online portal allowed hackers and criminals to see the personal information of thousands of veterans.

    Obama’s obvious and blatant disregard for veterans shocks the conscience.

    While I understand that Ben wants the VA scandals to be analyzed under an apolitical lens, the fact that the scandals continue to happen warrants the consideration that the optics are really about political ineptitude and treachery of a centralized big government system that sacrifices individual veterans for political power.

    These VA scandals are not just about inefficient and corrupt bureaucrats.

    These VA scandals demonstrate the raw, primal force of political machinery that will do anything and say anything to silence dissent among individual veterans and to neutralize the veteran class from orchestrating any political resistance to the wrongs being committed against them on a nearly daily basis.

    So are you starting to realize that being beaned in the head by Obama every time you use the VA is being done with malicious political intent?

  10. been dealing with the va for some 40+ years, and to hear that “Obama care ” is in any way linked to the problems, well it just does not sound right. we are grabbing at something, everything, but the problem is simply “GREED”. THE HAVES NOT WANTING TO SHARE WITH THE HAVE NOTS.
    the problems existed long before the President was even born.

  11. Yep, you missed one.

    A very big one.

    For the VA, the most important economic issue that the VA is exploiting against veterans is the use of the H1B visa and labor certifications for green cards.

    The VA would rather pay non-American medical personnel taxpayer dollars than hire Americans.

    The same non-American medical personnel that unfavorably rate us disabled veterans during Comp & Pen exams, which are then typically over-turned on appeal.

    This VA focus on choosing non-Americans to treat our wounded warriors goes to the heart of the current crisis on our southern border of illegal aliens invading America to exploit our jobs and drain our social welfare programs.

    Orchestrated by Obama and Democrats pretending to be Republicans, namely Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, these corrupt politicians are intent on providing cheap labor to staff the Chamber of Commerce businesses that give millions of campaign dollars each year as a quid pro quo.

    If any reader thinks that they won’t be personally affected by the coming onslaught of non-American invaders, think again.

    Your job will soon be given to a non-American invader who will be willing to work for a non-livable wage.

    These non-American invaders who refuse to integrate into our melting pot of American exceptionalism.

    And once these non-American invaders are given voting rights, the will choose their own non-American way of life over yours.

    This means patriotism will be dead in America.

    This can be seen in the current displays of non-American invaders desecrating American flags over the July 4th weekend while they yelled, “Viva La Raza!”.

    I’ve been there to these front lines of non-American invaders versus Americans.

    I’ve seen the damage done to America by these non-patriotic non-American invaders.

    I have personally heard these non-American invaders firmly say that they will reclaim America as their own country.

    So while Ben is right on about the other scandalous VA issues, it is your pocketbook, your way of life, and our patriotism that is about to be utterly destroyed, unless we speak out against the non-American invaders threatening our Southern borders.

    Long live American citizens!

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