Recall the VA’s failure regarding paying our veterans all of the funds they’re due under the GI Bill; those student veterans are being shorted the money they’re owed. That shortchanging will continue next year due to a “software glitch” that the VA isn’t fixing any time soon.
Now we get the VA’s Undersecretary of Benefits, Paul Lawrence, saying that the agency has no plans to retroactively pay shortchanged GI Bill recipients or to make next year’s VA victims whole. He didn’t even have the integrity to admit this to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee before which he was testifying—under oath, mind you, as is typical for witnesses before Congressional hearings—until he’d been pressed on the matter by several Congressmen.
After that admission, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said otherwise:
To clear up any confusion, I want to make clear that each and every post-9/11 GI Bill beneficiary will be made 100 percent whole—retroactively if need be—for their housing benefits for this academic year based on Forever GI Bill rates, not on post-9/11 GI Bill rates[.]
Whom to believe? Based on what evidence? It’s true enough that of the two, only one was under oath, and it wasn’t Wilkie, but that doesn’t count for much here.
And this: that software glitch is being blamed on an outmoded computer system that hadn’t/couldn’t be upgraded due to lack of funds. Molly Jenkins, a spokeswoman for that House VA committee had a different view, though:
It’s laughable that VA is blaming Congress for its IT issues, especially given the fact that Congress just passed the largest VA budget in history[.]
She also emphasized that the VA was allotted $30 million to improve its system.
She then pointed out a few other things: one is that the VA’s problems are “inexcusable, decades-long and well-documented.”
And that that the agency already is six months late with a required progress update.
[VA] sounded no alarms in their May 2018 report that there would be any delays at all[.]
It’s hard to tell whether VA management is not trying, is breathtakingly incompetent, or is actively defying Congress—and our veterans, whom the VA was created to support.
In any event, the VA needs to be eliminated and its once and future budgets committed to vouchers for our veterans.
Veteranos Administratio delende est.