An Update on eBenefits

As you may be aware, the eBenefits web portal was shut down for a period of time earlier this month, and a limited number of Veterans had some of their private information exposed to other Veterans or Servicemembers that were logged into the site.  I want to take the opportunity to explain what happened and what we are doing going forward.  I also want to apologize to any Servicemember, Veteran, or family member impacted by this interruption in service and inadvertent exposure of data.  You deserve better, we regret that this error occurred, and we are committed to serving you.

On the evening of Wednesday January 15, 2014, we updated a system that provides information to eBenefits.  While we were in the process of validating that the update was working, some Veterans notified VA that they were able to see other Veterans’ information when they were using eBenefits.  We took immediate action to examine these reports and discovered a problem had occurred.  As soon as the problem was confirmed, we stopped the update immediately and conducted a review to determine what went wrong.  We also took the opportunity to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the eBenefits system. eBenefits was brought back online after we were certain that the issue was resolved and that private Veteran information in eBenefits was protected.  The eBenefits portal is now available to use.

It’s important to know that this was not a malicious act of hacking to steal Veterans’ identities, but rather a problem introduced by a software update.  Regardless, we take any kind of data exposure seriously and will work to make sure this does not happen again.

In total, our initial analysis indicates that approximately 1,360 Veterans or Servicemembers may have had their information inadvertently exposed to other Veterans or Servicemembers.  Their information was potentially seen by as many as 5,351 fellow Veterans and Servicemembers who were logged into eBenefits during the time the software defect was in effect.  We sincerely hope that those who were able to view another user’s data protect their fellow Veterans’ or Servicemembers’ personal information as they would their own. If you saw another individual’s information, please do not share it.

VA’s independent Data Breach Core Team is continuing its review of this incident. When their review is complete, VA will reach out to each individual user whose information may have been improperly exposed about what steps should be taken and, as is standard VA practice, to offer free credit monitoring.

We greatly appreciate the Veterans and other eBenefits users who called our VBA call centers and brought this incident to our attention. VA cares deeply for every Veteran we are privileged to serve and that includes the protection of personal information.  We support the Veteran community, and we are all working together towards a common goal – to improve the lives of Veterans and their families. We encourage our Veterans to continue using the eBenefits portal as central location for Veterans, Servicemembers, and their families to research, find, and access their benefits and personal information.

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17 Comments to “An Update on eBenefits”

  1. Terri Nystrom says:

    Will all 1360 Veterans be personally notified?

    • Yvonne Levardi says:

      Hi Terri – yes, everyone who was affected will be contact with information about what steps should be taken and offered free credit monitoring.

  2. jimmy jones says:

    i keep trying to log on to the site but it won t let me so i can get updates on my v.a. c & p appeal . i need my c & p very badly right now cause i have been trying to get my c & p for 14 years & 1 month going on the 2nd month now.

  3. Charles says:

    I am so tired of my PII getting leaked by Gov agency and now you are not even apologizing for it. Just another friggen excuse of why you are incompetent in your job. Land the why the VA has leaked my PII at least 7 times in the past 5 years. with agencies we shouldn’t be scared of hackers the Gov does the work for them

  4. Sean H says:

    Is the VA going to notify those veterans that were affected by this or do we have to wait and see if the VA will take care of it?! There are some of us vets that really need to know if someone else by chance had gotten of SSN’s, addresses, bank information, etc.
    This is something serious we trust this government agency to keep our information personal, I feel as if the VA should compensate veterans for this by offering credit monitoring, among other things this is an outrage!

    • Yvonne Levardi says:

      Sean, absolutely. An IT team is reviewing what happens, and when they’ve completed that review VA will reach out to everyone whose information may have been exposed about what steps they need to take and offer free credit monitoring.

  5. Fidel Ginebra says:

    at the VA programs they reject me of benefict for the program rehab. and they didn’t see that I stroggoling here in town try to finish my degree as MD. I’m don’t find job in security, in federal or civilian life. because, I’m too cualified or you are not can be in security and is only I know security. that why I trying change for the degree of MD. PLEASEEEEEEEEEE !! HELP !!!! HELP !!!!

  6. I was trying to download Veterans Preference letters, but it kept returning an error. Also, I applied for the MGIB benefits and received a reference number, but the site said that I do not have a request processed. However, after calling the Education Benefits office they confirmed my request. Despite that the site looks very well put together!

  7. d says:

    Every “Veteran” should contact their Congressional Representative, & request immediate action be taken to let use know if our records were exposed in any way? This is another way the Obama administration is getting access to our records and make it seem as though nothing is wrong. We need answers and our Congressman should take
    the point. Could it be possible that ACA, NSA or IRS attempting to gain access to our records because we are Military Veterans? Someone should be held accountable.

  8. Betty Q. Chopoff says:

    What happened to my text? I pressed the wrong key for CAPTCHA code, it should take me back to my text and not delete it!!!!! I have to type the whole story again!!!

    My 86 yr old mother-in-law has started to have failing eye sight and getting forgetful the past year….getting worst. She lives alone. My (divorced) sister in law (her daughter) moved out from another state to help her. Can she qualify for any Caregiver Assistant? She’s totally on Social Security. Her 2nd husband (passed away over 10 years) was a WWII veteran. Where can I go to find information on Survivor’s benefits for my Mother-in-law? She lives in the SAN MATEO COUNTY, Northern California.

    • P. Mullen says:

      Hello Betty. I’m not sure if you found the information you needed, but if you still need assistance, please feel free to give the Women Veterans Call Center a call so they can assist you with information on survivor benefits. They can send you detaled and helpful information on those benefits and more and can point you in the right direction. The number is 1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636)

  9. Olivia says:

    What would have happened if the error hadn’t been reported? How long would the information have remained publicly available? From reading the article, it seems that the only reason the bug was found was because some honest users reported it. Maybe next time, we won’t be so lucky.

  10. Stephen says:

    Everytime I go onto Ebenifits my appeal status is never updated

    • Vance says:

      Same thing here — never updated, still says waiting for decision…geez, I thought the long wait was supposed to be done!!! Have our paperwork gone to China or India to be completed????

  11. Deborah says:

    As an surviving spouse with dependants of an disabled service connected Vietnam veteran whom passed away two months ago how can I get access to Ebenefits?

  12. My daughter is going for 2yrs old and I still waiting to be recognized as my dependent please help

  13. Robert Owens says:

    I keep trying to updat my info but won’t let me and can’t find any info on my upgrade status