Will Blog for Change

In VA’s Office of Public Affairs, we get a lot of phone calls ranging from routine to down right weird. We also get calls from Veterans who don’t know where else to turn. Usually they have already called every toll-free number in the book, but still haven’t found a solution to their problem.

I received such a call from a Veteran last week that started with, “I know you aren’t the complaint department, but someone needs to know. . . .”

There are some employees who would have interrupted the caller, and said, “Sir, you have the wrong office. You need to call 1-800-827-1000. Have a nice day.” Not me. I always hear them out.

The Veteran told me he was attending school on the Post-9/11 GI Bill and has been since the initial August 1, 2009 start date. Apparently, back in October, he received a letter from VA’s Debt Management Center stating that he owed money–a lot of money. Worried, he called the number on the letter and was told that an audit was performed on his account and he was overpaid on his housing stipend. His response was, “no I wasn’t.”

“Gary, I’m not too proud to admit that I have been contacted by a collection agency before, and trust me, these folks might be a part of VA, but they act just like a collection agency.” Not passing judgment on anyone, I continued to listen. He said he kept getting passed back and forth between Debt Management and Education Services. Finally, a representative in Education Services told him they spotted the problem–whoever performed the audit on his account, keyed in his housing stipend twice for each month, although he was only paid once each month. That representative made a note in his file that the debt was incorrect and he did not owe any money.

Problem solved? Not by a long shot. The next month he received a letter saying he still owed money. Now here’s where I really started to get interested. It’s complicated, but I’ll use simple numbers and a simple timeline to illustrate the problem. The Veteran was paid a $1,000 housing stipend each month for August, September, October and November. Four months equals $4,000. The audit stated he received two checks for $1,000 each month. Twice a month, for four months equals $8,000.

How much do you think Debt Management was trying to collect? If you guessed $4,000, you guessed wrong. I agree, $4,000 makes sense. If he did receive a total of $8,000, but should have only received $4,000, then he should have to repay an overage of $4,000.

Debt Management was trying to collect $8,000. “Not only do they want the money they think I was overpaid, they want what I was actually paid as well,” the Veteran said.

At this point, I told the Veteran I was going to check into it, but I wanted to make sure I got my facts straight so I summarized what he had told me:

“Debt Management says you owe X-amount money. Education Services says you don’t owe any money and it’s annotated in your file that the debt is an error. However, Dept Management is still trying to collect. You have made numerous phone calls. Education Services keeps saying they have done their part. Debt Management says Education Services has to clear it, but recommends you start a repayment plan anyway.”

I asked him one final question before hanging up the phone: “Is everything you’ve told me completely true and accurate?” He said yes.

The first thing I tried to do was find a contact in Education Services, without starting at the top of the food chain. I lucked out and found someone who did in fact confirm there was a note in the Veteran’s file that the debt was incorrect. I started to get excited at this point. One, the Veteran apparently didn’t feed me any BS and two, I might actually be able to help this guy. I like helping people, it feels good.

I spent the next five hours, in between working on other projects, trying to track down an inside number to Debt Management with no luck. So I decided to send an e-mail to the address listed on the Web site. It got bounced back.

Finally, I find the e-mail address of the director and deputy director and dropped them a quick message asking them if they could have someone on their staff check the validity of the Veteran’s issue and get back to me. I only needed to know two things: One, if there was an error on the audit and two, if he owes the money or not. Then I briefly outlined the problem and the fact there was a note in his file about it being incorrect.

The director was all over it. Within 10 minutes, he assigned his folks to look into the issue from his office, the Support Services Division in St. Louis, and copied his counter part in Education Services and a member of that director’s staff.

For the rest of the afternoon, I vigilantly watched the e-mail traffic. One particular message caught my attention and I replied to all. I was worried that things were going to snowball and get complicated. I’m a simple man, and don’t handle complicated very well.

So, I just restated, that I only needed a yes or no answer, and not the details. In public affairs, often the timeliness of an answer is more important than the actual answer. It tells you how you should handle a situation and more importantly, doesn’t leave the customer hanging, or more time to stew.

Less than nine working hours later, I got my answers. Yes, there was an error on the audit and no, the Veteran didn’t owe any money. A letter was also sent out to let him know that the issue was resolved. I called him with the news.

I told you all of that, just so I could make a few points, and hopefully do justice to the title of this blog. It’s easy to blame a government bureaucrat for mistakes. But the major hurdle in government is not necessarily the mistake itself, but fixing the mistake. More often than not, a government employee’s hands are tied when trying to solve a problem. There are business processes that must be followed to the letter; functional areas cannot step into someone else’s area of responsibility and so on. If these processes aren’t followed, there can be hell to pay. And since there is hell to pay, employees have to cover the hind ends, document everything and pass the buck along to whoever else is the next person in line. That person may have to defer it yet again until another person does their part before they can do their part. It’s crazy.

I know, because I used to work in an office that’s like that.

When something went wrong, the first order of business was to hold a meeting and assign people to collect the history file. Then we would hold a meeting to go over what was collected. If it was discovered that anyone else was involved, then we would schedule another meeting to gather their input. Then there would be follow up meetings to determine: what went wrong, why it went wrong, what should be done to fix it so it doesn’t happen again; conduct focus groups to review the proposed changes; and near the end, an implementation meeting to introduce the actual changes. After that was all said and done, we might actually get around to fixing the “person’s” problem.

It’s bureaucratic stuff like that, that gives government workers a bad name. More often than not, it’s the law or a regulation based on a law that allows the service.

Back to the Veteran’s story, each of those offices I mentioned have a clear set of defined regulations and protocols they have to follow. Had I not have intervened, the Veteran’s problem would have eventually been resolved properly, but who knows how long that would have taken. Weeks, months, longer. . . .

Fortunately, I was able to go straight to the director, who in turn focused on the Veteran’s problem. He did not ask, “what went wrong,” “who’s fault was it,” or anything like that. He focused all attention to the Veteran’s problem. Nine working hours later, the Veteran’s problem was solved forever and that Veteran can enjoy a stress-free holiday season with his family.

Unfortunately, not everyone with a problem gets that lucky. Their issue has to run the gambit of rules, regulations, checks and balances–mountains of red tape. The system works, but should it take years in some case to fix simple data entry errors? No.

Things need to change–and they are. Albeit slowly, but changes are occurring in VA, and for the better.

The Change Academy is an example of VA’s latest commitment to transforming the way we do business. It’s is a new service under the Office of Human Resources and Administration’s ADVANCE initiative that offers customized courses to teach leaders how to lead change and foster a culture that embraces transition, and to teach employees to effectively cope with change and embrace the benefits.

VA’s Client Service Initiative, now backed by a system called Executive Veterans Affairs Contact Management System (ExecVA) which is another positive step toward change. The system is designed to greatly reduce the number of Veteran callers from falling through the proverbial cracks.

When a call comes in to Central Office, the customer service representative enters the caller’s information into the system and assumes ownership of the issue. It’s the CSR’s responsibility to ensure the issue is resolved. The system helps them track the issue, assign tasks, and provides periodic reminders until all tasks related to the issue is complete.

In other words, you might get passed to another VA employee, but ultimately there is someone responsible, if you fall into the abyss. The system, reminds them that your problem has not been solved and it’s their job to make sure it does.

You, the Veteran, can help affect change, and thus shape the future of VA by blogging and also commenting on other blogs. Believe it or not, senior leaders are well aware of what goes on here. This is an opportunity for you to blog for change. VA is listening.

As a writer for VAnguard magazine, I plan to follow up with these offices and shed some light on what they can do and what they can’t do. By sharing this information in the magazine and future blogs, it will help more Veterans avoid problems in the first place and hopefully help you navigate the bureaucracy to fix a problem.

Gary Hicks is a Public Affairs Specialist in the Office Public and Intergovernmental Affairs where he serves as the editor of the federal benefits book for Veterans and as a senior writer and assistant editor for VAnguard Magazine. He is a 15-year Veteran, having served in both the Army and the Air Force.

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119 Comments to “Will Blog for Change”

  1. Edward Luisser says:

    Great article. A positive highlight to help understand the mechanics of bureaucracy. That’s not a bad “b” word. I cannot imagine the energy needed to overcome the inertia of a system this size.

    I’d be a screamin’ loon after one day managing just one facility.

    Best of luck.. I’m patient. (obvious pun avoided, whew!)

    E. Luisser

  2. AprilGallop says:

    Thank u 4 this blog. I will create a blog. My blog will contain all the outstanding issues with the Va. Then we will count down to see how long it takes to get resolved. I have presented numerous issues to Dept of Vocational Rehab in Roanoke Virginia. I met with them via teleconference with my casemanager this past summer. The casemanager was present to ensure I wasn’t misrepresented. I had to resubmit my Voc Rehab application for almost 3 years before it was accepted and approved. I had only one major accident during my military service. Otherwise, I was completely healthy. Performing at 90-100% on my Army Physical Fitness Test. Thus, the only thing non related to the accident was my worn down knees. I lost my cartilage and arches falling due to all the running in the military. Therefore, all my injuries came from one accident but have to spend over 6 years explaining that it is related. That doesn’t make sense when medical records are very clear. Can u imagine the additional pain and frustration after you are already separated without your housing, clothing and food allowance?? If you can, then you realize someone needs to review this process. Not only that examine the people who work in these offices. If they don’t have the ability to work with veterans who have disability with care, compassion and real concern. Maybe they should be realigned to another job.
    It took me almost 5 years to get a copy of my file. I did receive it this year-2010. Unfortunately, I learned the two appeals I submitted wasn’t answered but stashed in my file. That office refused to properly and adequately address any of my appeals in a reasonable timeframe. Not only that they refuse to properly adequately address anyone with a signed release. To further refuse to properly and adequately address they way their counselor misrepresented me and information. While I understand there are so many with injuries. However, there is never a reason we shouldn’t be treated with dignity and respect.
    Of course, I met with Karen Desugerant at the Roanoke Office. There were others present on the teleconference. Nevertheless, they still refused to address why my appeals were never answered but stashed in my file. Along with a whole myriad of issues that they are refusing to properly and adequately address. We are still waiting to see who is over the Directors of this Roanoke office so I can forward my outline on poor treatment and misrepresentation.
    It had already taken 3 years of resubmission. I appealed with a reasonable timeframe. And instead of addressing the appeal, they want me to start over as a new applicant with all that I endured. There should be a better streamlining process on appeals. They shouldn’t be allowed to not respond over a long period time. To then try to erase the amtter by having u start over.
    I will take the suggestions of blogging. To add to my constant emailing and writing.

    Best regards,
    april g

  3. AprilGallop says:

    Again, appreciate the blog. However, it is no longer acceptable for the Va to not outsource when you have complete knowledge of backlogs of applications, appeals etc. I have met soldiers with outstanding issue from over 10 years ago. This is great way to hire disabled veterans via offering contracts. I have a background in administration and willing to file as a independent contractor. I am participating in the Self Employment Program. Further it is inappropriate to continue with old strategies that don’t work. For example, I am single mother disabled veteran. So many standing policies out of the Roanoke Office work against me. I required childcare while participating in the Voc Rehab program. However, the counselor didn’t assure the child care provider was paid. Thus it made it hard to go to appointments or any form of training with my child. Instead, of communicating or writing that in my file that my child care wasn’t paid. The counselor communicated and wrote I refuse to participate. This was a misrepresentation. But this is how they protect themselves. Then in my effort to get the information regarding to polices etc. Due to it contradicting information I received from my Congressional representative office. I find out the Roanoke Office created amendments to the rules to prevent funds from being used no more than once to cover child care while participating in Voc Rehab. OF course, I still have the appeals they never answered or responded. You would think they would do everything they could to be of assistance as long it related to Voc Rehab endeavors whether training, workshops or appointments. I would understand a rejection, if I requested child care to go hang out at the mall. Everyone knows you can’t take a child to any training class. You have a force of disabled veterans with administrative backgrounds who can be brought on as independent contractors to help. It is ashame there is a continuance to use people for free services when you can obtain the funding.
    Further,it makes no sense they can’t look at the needs of the veteran and make adjustments.

  4. Dustin says:

    I had a very similar situation happen to me the beginning of this year except with the department of the navy stating that I owed them a lot of money… I fought it for about 6 months but eventually gave up when I got a letter saying it was going to collections and stating that this alleged debt I owed was gaining interest. So I broke and paid the incorrect debt… but before that i had spend numerous hours on the phone with different representatives and not getting the help i really needed. I hate to admit it but i just gave in and paid the money they were asking for. I guess i find comfort in knowing Im not the only one whose experienced similar problems.

  5. R. Morriss says:

    The article was written in a very transparent manner, allowing us to see exactly what obstacles are in the way. There are obviously many of them, so I will keep this article in mind, during certain calls in the future.

    A Veterans Administration, that had technology up to date, would allow management to see how files overlap in certain situations. The relationships between audits, and how the Debt Collection Dept. works would be an example of how someone in a management position could pull up certain portions of a Veterans file to verify information.

    Databases can easily be updated to allow for this, or at least a universal notes section. As a Computer Programming student on the G.I. Bill, I can obviously see these possibilities that could be in place, that aren’t.

    Bravo Zulu to the author for doing such a great job. That isn’t something that happens everyday.

  6. Allen Nash says:

    Why hasn’t VA participate in Loan Re-modification Program with Bank Of America.
    My account is up to date however I’m out of work and will be able not meet all financial responsibility.
    I talked with Bank Of America and they will nor reduce payment due to my loan is Va Backed so The big bank gets fatter due to VA non participation in government program. Where do I go? HOMELESS

  7. Todd says:

    Great story, now if we could all be so lucky. I had a similar issue where Education and debt management took money they said I owed them. Sadly enough, it didn’t happen just one time, it happened several times. Every time I would send a message to the VA, I would get a different response. Finally someone stepped in and decided I should have an audit done, and found that in fact, the VA had deducted more than they should have, and they will be manually processing a check next week. Let’s just hope they don’t do like last time and take it right back out again at the end of the month.

  8. William Eldrichb says:

    I have been involved in VA issues for over forty years. I see the most progress and revisions being made in the last two years than I ever imagined. I can only hope it continues. I watch so many vets who just have normal “life” problems try to milk the VA by trying to make it all “service related”. That makes it difficult to sort through the claims that have real merit. @Allen, go to NACA on line and work with them. They are helping me now and seem very eager to take on BofA.

  9. pam balog says:

    My husband, a vietnam vet, was admitted to VA hospital in Johnson City, Tn on June 2, 2010. on the 3rd, we were told he was dying from agent orange exposure in vietnam and there was no treatment option. Before discharge, he requested a copy of his hospital files and signed all the paperwork. He died 3 weeks later at home under hospice care. As of this date, Dec 20th, 2010, I still have not received these records which is necessary in order for his children and grandchildren to receive testing re: agent orange effects. The hospital tells me after 5 months of phone calls, they now can’t find his files …. it took me 4 months to start receiving my DIC, I had to prove we were actually married 4 times even though it was plainly stated on all his paperwork … I honestly felt as if they were hoping I would give up so they wouldn’t have to pay benefits that he earned. They are still saying I owe them money for his hospitalization, by the way. I wish I could find someone actually willing to take responsibility and help straighten out this mess. Thanks for letting me vent!

  10. Jeffrey Creed says:

    Why are my benifits Such a secret?

    I have had numerous issues with the VA EDU Dept. Many have have been the result of a lack of information. I don’t know why there is no easily to read info on the Post 9-11 benifits. Two examples here. Break pay? I was told three or four different stories about break pay. I still have no idea if and when I will recieve break pay? How does it affect my my benifits? I was told in SEPT 2010 I would recieve it through my winter break just like I was in school. The day before Thanksgiving I was told I would not, so with finals pressing hard on me I suddenly need to find a job right now as well, thanks for the holiday cheer.
    My second issue is accounting of payments. I enrolled in school in fall 2009, wne two school and never reieved housing, finally got through and discovered I needed 6 and a half units notthe 6 my school instructed me to. So come Feb 2010 I quit work and start school fulltime.. I get a partial check On March 1. I very eagarly wait for my April 1st check since I was finally going to beable to move out of my car and into a room. the 26th of MArch i recieved a notice that I owed $500 for the previous semester, OK. Sounds right, but you are really going to collect it all at once? Then the very next peice of mail is an identical notice? I call and sure enough my check for $1300 or so is now a $300 check in 4 days. What I still can’t figure out is how 4 units at $26 per unit plus books equals a 1000$, I am thinking more around $300$ So from here things only have gotten worse and my account must be a daily source of humor for the VA staff. At the time I was jsut like sort it out and let me know what the story was. The auditor I spoke with said he would send me a letter explaining all the payments and debits. He never did and when i called back i was told that information is not approved for release to me? Really I thought it was my benifits? I don’t know why they can’t send or better post to and emial or signin system an accounting like a bank statment. You have these benifits and this is what we paid, and for what? How am I the user supposed to know if i am over paid or underpaid? How do I calculate how much time I have left? Does that two weeks of break pay come off my time am I going to be a semester short because I was paid over the winter? How do I ask for or decline Break pay? Can I declare either way? I am pretty understanding that the VA is huge, and slow with that lack of speed I expect consistancy and superior quality. The users can help QC the VA by providing us with a useable statment that we can understand. I would much rather not have any real paper work unless it is needed, because I believe if a bank can manage and online account the VA could as well.

    • Alex Horton says:

      Jeff, where are you located? Do you know your regional office? You can fax a request for an audit of the education benefits you have used and still have remaining. Let me know where you are and I will call and get the fax number.

      I called the GI Bill hotline (after a few weeks of not being able to get through) to ask how many months I had left. I didn’t identify myself as a VA employee so this should be SOP. I will try the same for myself and see what happens. In the meantime, let me know where you’re located and I’ll track down the number for you (or email address if possible).

    • friend says:

      Jeff your family lost all contacts with you, please contact them specially your parents who have not heard from you in five years now.

  11. Nistasha P says:

    I just received a similar letter, saying I owe the VA over $8,000 which I know I don’t. I use the Fry Scholarship and it’s always frustrating to deal with the VA because it’s just another reminder of our loss. I keep trying to call the VA’s education hotline and it just says they’re busy and to try again later. Not the funnest thing to deal with during the holidays but I guess I’m waking up at 7:30 to try and be the first ones to call and deal with this.

  12. I had a very similar situation happen to me the beginning of this year except with the department of the navy stating that I owed them a lot of money…

  13. brenda hayes says:

    ISSUE: Overcrowding at the VAMC’s

    SOLUTION: Let disabled Veterans have their RX filled by outside physicians at the VAMC Pharmacy and this would allow for more slots. A lot of Veterans go to the VAMC in order not to pay for Medicare Part D; have co-pays, etc.

    It would be nice for someone to state why this can’t happen? It is a partial solution that really can work. If you are retired you can use what Pharmacys that still exist on Posts; but usually they are quite far away even if they do exist in certain areas.

    It JUST makes Sense!

    RESPONSE:

    BH

  14. Ed says:

    Yea, I had a similar issue, which it just goes to show you that it is all about communiction. There must continuity of communication. My issue was resolved but had I not had reached the right people it could have easily been much more difficult

    Ed,
    http://www.myfaithworks.me/

  15. Hal Lansing says:

    In September 2010, I downloaded and filled out the forms required to submit an application for Concurrent Retirement and Diability Pay (CRDP) based on Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam during 1966-67. In early October, I personally delivered the completed application to George Brentnall at the the Key West VA office. In about two weeks, I received a letter of approval from the St. Petersburg Regional Office and I received my first CRDP disability payment on November 1st. If that’s not efficiency, I wouldn’t know it if I saw it. Thanks to the staff members in Key West and St. Petersburg for superb service. Please pass to all concerned, including General Shinseki, that I’m one veteran who loudly sings their praise.

  16. brenda hayes says:

    Clarification of CRSC/CRDP: If you have 50% OR more which is combat related, then the Veteran should file for CRSC? (Combat Related Special Compensation..which is not taxable.)

    If less than 50% whether combat related or not; then, CRDP, is applicable (but is taxable).

    There seems to be a lot of confusion around this issue; and it would be nice if someone in leadership, maybe Mr. Pamperin, could clarify this on this site.

    Thanks,

    BH

  17. Ron Tillotson says:

    Why doesn’t VA medical services join planned provider networks (PPOs) to gain more revenue when insured vets receive medical services? My PPO would pay 70% of most claims, rather than 50%.

  18. Gene Travis says:

    I am looking for a house to buy. Since I’m a dis-abled veteran, I went on the VA site and found one that was for sale, but was going to be auctioned off on the 21st of April. The site specified that you must be “pre-qualified” prior to sale and a link sends you to Bank of America to do so. After getting “pre-qualified, I called the auction company and was told the house could not be financed, that you have to have the money in an account. You must have CASH. This is pure discrimination! Why is the government doing business with companies who do this? Of course the average veteran can try to buy the house before it goes to auction if he/she wants to pay full or near full price; but after it goes to auction the average veteran or any “low” income people are “shut out! I have contacted the ACLU, but of course the place I really wanted and looked for almost a year to find will be gone before they have time to act. Something should be done about this.
    Gene Travis

  19. Zac says:

    @ Gene – That is just the way it is, I doubt the ACLU will do anything for you. Homes at auction are already a big pain for the bank/lender and they want to get rid of it and get cash for it rather than dealing with another hassle and financial drain.

  20. As a veteran, I’ve had dealings with the VA dept and for the most part they have been adequate. Although, I also have vet friends who wont speak so kindly. The problem that exists in many government agencies is that one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing and many just don’t give a dam. This was a nice read done by someone who actually gives a damn!
    Thank You!

  21. pratish says:

    Hello Gary Hicks, I really appreciate the helpful nature of your mind. In our country the government agencies might be very busy since they don’t have enough officials and so they won’t help us much.

  22. @Pam keep venting as much you want as it is disgusting how these institutes keep treating people who gave their life for their country while they have an easy lazy life.

  23. Arthur says:

    They are pushing it too far, sometimes I feel like they don’t even check for anything, instead they just work like machines. Bureaucracy, what can you do. Oh well, at least they allowed poker sponsorship. Sarcasm mode off.

  24. Its very exciting to hear about military experiences

  25. Thanks for all your valuable labor on this site. Betty enjoys managing investigation and it is easy to understand why. I hear all concerning the powerful medium you offer priceless tips and tricks via this blog and recommend participation from other people on the area while our own daughter is truly learning so much. Enjoy the remaining portion of the new year. You are always carrying out a pretty cool job.

  26. WAO SEO says:

    That was a very intresting and elaborating post. As a veteran of three years in the Israeli army I can appriciate such good ol’ stories.

  27. Keep working ,fantastic job!

  28. latasha downs says:

    Well….its been going on three weeks today. I just got off the phone with Debt Man. and still nothing is solved…they keep giving me the run around and telling me that St. Louis’ regional office is who i need to be talking to..i called to certify as usual but this is what happened… it would let me certify…so i waited til the morning and called Education office….they found a problem from my school….they sent my new enrollement and a withdraw at the same time…..now i was on a medical leave from school for surgery in december so i think my school accidentally sent it in again. it was no problem bc the lady checked it out and certified me….so im thinking problem fixed…well i was wrong…i didnt get my direct deposit…it said i was paid $0…well i knew that wasnt right…now when i started my gi bill they overpaid me $3000 so im already in debt managenment paying a debt so they taking out a certain amount from my entitlement and i get the rest….so i call debt man about them taking all my money….talked to the rep and he said he would refund me the money..put me on hold…and told me i would recieve it in 7-10 business days….on the 11th day no money…i call back… the next rep says that he sees that the refund was rejected…then went on to tell me that they cannot refund my money bc they didnt offset it… the regional office in St louis did and i needed to contact them bc since they didnt take it they cant refund it back to me..so i call regional talk to a supervisor who tells me that debt man. shouldnt have told me that and that they didnt take the money…and if i already had a debt plan in progress they shouldnt have took all my money only what we had discussed…told me to call back to debt man. and speak to a supervisor, so i did….when i did they told me that they could not transfer me to a sup…even though they are in the same building..so once again im not helped…the man on the line said i will go talk to one and let me know what they could do….i had already told him that i needed tha money for tuition or i would be withdrawn and incur another debt which would be unacceptable! he put me on hold and then came back and said i can give u a refund but not my whole entitlement i said i jus need enough to pay for tutition…so he put me on hold to put it in the computer….well we got disconnected and i had to call back which took forever and i got a different person who was rude and didnt even try to help me find him….i told him if he didnt like his job maybe he should quit and he hung up on me…. i call back get a nice lady who found the guy who was doin the refund..checked it out and told me that they had put it in and i should recieve it in 7-10 days and also gave me the rude mans name and a supervisors direct phone number…which has been no help…ive called 6 times with no answer and left a mes each time…its been a week and i still havent recieved a phone call…i call this morning to check on the progress of my refund….the lady tells me she doesnt see where one was entered at all….what?! i tell her the story she keeps cutting me off and overtalking me and she knows absolutely nothing about what has happened or what im goin thru! today makes 3 weeks… i havent been paid…and tution hasnt been paid….if i dont pay im going to be withdrawn from school and dropped which is goin to give me a bigger debt! WHAT SHOULD I DO I TRIED EVERYTHING I CAN THINK OF AND CALLED ALL THE NUMBERS THEY HAVE GIVEN ME….IS THERE SOMEONE ELSE I CAN CONTACT?!

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  30. Bureaucracy is a major problem in government agencies. Just hope that things become bit better next time. I work in the government I myself find it hard to become a bit more efficient. I think its because of the way things are done, the slow processes, etc.

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  34. I had only one major accident during my military service. Otherwise, I was completely healthy. Performing at 90-100% on my Army Physical Fitness Test. Thus, the only thing non related to the accident was my worn down knees. I lost my cartilage and arches falling due to all the running in the military. Therefore, all my injuries came from one accident but have to spend over 6 years explaining that it is related. That doesn’t make sense when medical records are very clear.
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  36. They are pushing it too far, sometimes I feel like they don’t even check for anything, instead they just work like machines. Bureaucracy, what can you do. Oh well, at least they allowed poker sponsorship. Sarcasm mode off.

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  40. IPO Timeline says:

    To me this is the key right here:
    “It’s bureaucratic stuff like that, that gives government workers a bad name. More often than not, it’s the law or a regulation based on a law that allows the service.”

    Still it can be a very frustrating experience dealing with any large entity, gov’t or private company and trying to find the right person to help you.

  41. Our country needs to do more for our Veterans. The generation of today is clueless when it comes to recognizing the sacrifice these men and women have made to secure our liberties and freedoms. I proudly salute you who have made my country a great place to live. God Bless America and God Bless our Veterans.

  42. John Douglas says:

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  43. David Smith says:

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  63. You are so right Andy, the sacrifices our Veterans made to make our lives easier cannot be understood by nobody, except them… I cannot imagine the bravery, dedication and patriotism these men and women have, to sacrifice their lives and everything they have, so that America, and the world, would be a better place.

    May God Bless Them, America and The World We Live In.

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  75. Preston says:

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  76. P90X says:

    I appreciate the openness of this article. If there were more government workers like Gary, there would be less problems. Our veterans deserved to be treated better.

  77. I have read it a few times now that the informations on the veteran services are not accurate and many can not receive the money they entitled to. Maybe new computer system they are talking about will make the difference.

  78. It seems from your tale of the vet that he was indeed very lucky to have you on his case.
    This also illustrates how systems that can work correctly most of the time fail badly when something goes wrong generally because of no checks at the right point in the procedures .

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  80. I have a hard time understanding how this type of error can happen. It’s not enough these guys and girls put everything on the line- to get treated with such a lack of cosideration is appalling.

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  84. Its terrible that the Vets have to go through this. the sacrifice they have made should mean they receive much better treatment. We can all help by highlighting this situation

  85. Computer systems are only as good as the information put into them and the Veterans deserve better than this. we can only hope that this situation is sorted out

  86. jeffg says:

    wow, i can’t believe these sorts of things still happen–especially to our Veterans. hats off to all you do and have done, there are still those of us who realize the price you’ve paid for our liberties.

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  87. Vets eligible for Medicare have a choice to use VA or Medicare providers. If a Vet wants Medicare Part D they have a choice to get it or not without penalties that non-Vets may be subject to. If a Veteran fall within government financial guidelines a Vet can get “extra help” from Social Security to help pay for Part D drug costs. Many Vets are not aware of their dual benefits if they are eligible for Medicare.

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  89. Frogger Game says:

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  92. We should treat all our veterans with the utmost respect for what they’ve done for us. Just hope more people feel that way.

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    Our country needs to do more for our Veterans. The generation of today is clueless when it comes to recognizing the sacrifice these men and women have made to secure our liberties and freedoms. I proudly salute you who have made my country a great place to live. God Bless America and God Bless our Veterans.

  111. SEO Surrey says:

    I wouldn’t say the younger generation are clueless as to the sacrifice made by veterans in the UK and I hope it’s not the case in the USA either. We currently have service personnel operating in several conflict zones and are regulary reminded on television of the sacrifice that service personnel are making in the Middle East. The scenes on television this November 11th (Poppy Day) in the UK, and the hoo-ha made in the press, when FIFA told the England football team that they could not wear a poppy on their shirt – as a sign of respect to those who have given their lives in the cause of freedom, which was eventually relented on by FIFA is heart warming to say the least that the sacrifice made by others on our behalf is remembered by the vast (but mostly silent) majority.