Blog Archives

OSC Takes Lead in Fighting for Whistleblower Rights

Blowing the whistle on wrongdoing at the Department of Veterans Affairs can mean risking everything from losing a job to losing the respect of co-workers. But in fighting whistleblower retaliation today, the Office of Special Counsel hopes future whistleblowers will come forward without fear of punishment. Eric Bachman, OSC deputy special counsel for litigation and legal affairs, said that the agency's success in restoring jobs and back pay to 25 whistleblowers has helped get the word out to workers who know about...

House Passes Bill to Fund VA

The House of Representatives has moved to fund the Veterans Administration through the shutdown and into fiscal year 2014. The House passed the bill, H.J. Res. 72., on Thursday, October 3rd, with overwhelming Republican support. Democrat opposition was strong, but they still got 35 Democrats to sign on as well. The final vote was 259 in favor, 157 opposed. The bill, dubbed the “Honoring Our Promise to America’s Veterans Act,” restores funding for disability compensation, monthly stipends under the GI Bill...

Shutdown Would Kill off VA Claims Processing – but Medical Care Will Go On

While the large majority of Veterans Affairs employees, including clinical staff, will not be furloughed in the event of a government shutdown next week, about 20,000 VA workers do face the prospect of being laid off of work for a time. According to reporting from USA Today, some 20,000 VA employees stand to lose their jobs temporarily while Congress locks horns over a budget. These VA workers primarily work in claims processing and in Veterans Group Life Insurance. VA Medical Centers, however, will still operate, as will...

Half-Billion Dollar Gee-Whiz VA Benefits Processing Software Program is Kaput

The $500 million-plus software program that was supposed to eliminate the stubborn VA benefits backlog, the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), has been taken offline for “troubleshooting,” according to internal VA documents. VBMS is supposed to transform the VA benefits administration process by converting to a paperless system. It is the lynchpin of the VA’s efforts to meet Secretary Erik Shinseki’s goal of eliminating the backlog by 2015 and bringing the average waiting time for veterans...

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