Video: How VA Wants You to Claim VA Disability

This weekend, I’ve been researching the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) updates proposed by the VA to address the disability backlog. Currently, the backlog is anywhere from 500,000 to 1.3 million claims, depending on who you are talking to.

On June 19, 2012, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs held a hearing to confront VA about concerns related to the VBMS program.

Journalist Bob Brewin likened the hearing to “Gone with the Wind.” Brewin had this to say about an exchange between Congressman Filner and Under Secretary Allison Hickey:

Allison Hickey, VA undersecretary for benefits, told the hearing that the VA had submitted to the committee a “strategic plan” to scan billions of pages of paper veterans records, but it turned out that the staff had received only a PowerPoint presentation lacking details.

Filner bellowed, “This is not a strategic plan…where’s the plan?” Hickey said she had the details in a Word document, but did not bring that document to the hearing.

Filner fired back, “Why don’t you have it here?”


Tom Philpott wrote about Congressman Bob Filner’s drilling of the VA and Gen Allison Hickey. Hickey is head of the Veterans Benefits Administration. In his article, “New Steps to Reduce VA Claims Backlog,” Philpott called the grilling of a VA decision-maker “verbal abuse.”

For me, I have felt verbally abused many times by the Veterans Affairs while trying to get my disability claim approved over 10 years. Personally, I do not feel terribly bad for Hickey.

I’m researching a full write up of Hickey, Philpott, and Congressman Filner’s critique of VA’s continued failings. I’ll post this report on Monday.

Take some time to review Under Secretary Hickey’s testimony and Congressman Filner’s questioning of her. .

The video is at the bottom of the page. Skip through until the end, where Hickey gives her testimony.

What do you think? Please comment if you care about your benefits.

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  1. How many times I hear “thank-you for your service”. A true thank-you would be a veterans administration that really helps veterans get what we deserve. A good place to start would be telling the truth!

  2. Who to believe, who to believe…Ben, if it wasn’t for you, I would most likely have believed all this rhetoric spewing from lying VA lips. I have been, and still am battling the VA, for most of my adult life. I am 66 now, and have been beaten up by the VA, seems like…. forever. Again, I must file for PTSD, and another problem, totally related to my time in service. I am tired. I believed that the problems with my previous claims, was me. I was denied once in 1995, for reason that I may be intelligent enough to cheat on a test, but was never told which test. Before that time, and since, there seems to be no records of my filing any claim. My appeal( 1 and only ), for Ishemic heart, dates back to 1999. DAV has this case, and I have no idea what’s going on. We have no communication. That last email from Hockey sounds like a set-up. A set-up for what, I don’t know, but I am sure in time, we will all know. God Bless the Veterans, and their families. Thanks Ben, I was blind and now I see.

  3. I am impressed with this site. Your attitude mirrors my experiences and I am sure many. I am also not empathetic to the V.A. when Congress goes after it for backlogs. Sometimes it is congresses fault, not V.A. Congress mandate the denial process.

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