Rarely do I launch into a diatribe against the VA. Strike that. That is one thing you can always be assured of reading here. Unless or until they pull the plug on me as they did Keith Roberts, I will continue to fight for you.

Thus it was with some approbation that I received this from the OIG this morning. I requested a feed from their news service several months ago. I have been having bad hair days ever since. Today’s brief on the new Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) seems to be full of hooey. It is couched in semantic non-isms of “While VA is to be complimented for getting off their dead asses and finally doing something about this intractable backlog, the methods leave much to be desired.”

It doesn’t work. It probably won’t for years and putting more lipstick on it isn’t going to make up for the fact that it can’t walk because it lacks two of the four legs necessary for locomotion. In fact, lipstick is the very least of their worries right now. Saying it works when it clearly doesn’t is called lying. When you notice the word “legacy” in the article, replace it with ” the old-fashioned way we used to do it on paper”.

As of September 2012, three major VBMS software releases had not provided all of the functionality necessary to support the entire claims process. VA designed the system to have seven major subcomponents lined up with each stage of the claims process, from initial application through review, rating, award, and benefits delivery. As such, all of the sub-components were at various stages of completion and were not yet fully functioning. Two of the seven modules had not been developed; the other five were only partially functional. For example, critical capabilities such as establishing claims and calculating disability benefits were not fully available in VBMS.

VA, as usual, is employing the standard approach of “Do something. Anything. Get them off our backs. We’ll come up with a repair order shortly. We just need time.” I call this the “build the plane and we’ll worry about making it fly later” syndrome. Few successful corporations have ever tried this design/build approach of constructing something and then actually trying to make it functional. Orville and Wilbur would have been in a pickle if they started on the premise of trying to get a bicycle airborne and then contemplated adding wings later. Yet VA approaches this in much the same manner. Consider the below:


Now for your new hairdo makeover. Here are  the new sites (VAROs) where VBSM has been installed. Brylcreem is not going to help. Your hair will still be standing on end after reading the article.


At this rate, 2015 looks like a typo. Perhaps Uncle Eric meant 2051. That seems far more doable at this stage after reading this whitepaper. I guess we can see which ROs will be the new logjams in the next few years. Of more import, once up and running, all of them will be. Wait. That’s what we have now.

VA will continue this charade for as long as they are allowed to. Congressional inquiries and hearings will regurgitate the same pablum for microphones. VSO “stakeholders” will swear their allegiance to Vets and return to their desks. VA will go right on holding their seminars in warm places with lots of adult beverages and Karaoke. The claims will eventually enter the nebulous world of the “cloud” but will be no more rapid than they are now. Envisage a submarine with screen doors or an airplane with no propulsion…

Maiden flight of the VBMS

Maiden flight of the VBMS

About asknod

VA claims blogger
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9 Responses to VBMS OR VBSM?

  1. Kiedove says:

    Folders are shipped back to the VARO in disarray? They shouldn’t be shipped anywhere in the first place. The scanning can be done in-house. Librarians have been digitizing and organizing paper and books for years. Maybe the VA should hire some to help them out.

  2. KC says:

    F’ing kidding me??? From the audit… “the system had not been fully developed to the extent that its capability to process claims from initial application through review, rating, award, to benefits delivery could be sufficiently evaluated…” …”We identified issues hindering VBA’s efforts to convert hard-copy claims to electronic format for processing within VBMS, including disorganized electronic claims folders and improper management of hard-copy claims.”

    JFC!!!! REALLY???!!!! I am having a difficult time not going medieval on this laptop at the moment… time out.

  3. hepsick says:

    I want that T Shirt, Please send me one

  4. randy says:

    Similar pathway for the Healthcare issue. But at least Pelosi stood up in front of the nation and made her famous quip, “we have not read it but let’s implement it now and we can study it later”. Back in 2010. I believe, Hickey was before Congress explaining their new models and software capabilities therein and to date it still does not work. I do not envy her position but keep your mouth closed if your mouth overloads your ass. Don’t give us the SOSDD envisions which will never come to fruition.

  5. RobertG says:

    Who in hell is Keith Roberts? Actual Claims Completed End-to-End=0…. Didn’t Albert Einstein say doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results was INSANITY! And they call veterans dangerous and should take away our guns? The body count means nothing to the VA. MONEY does…..

    • asknod says:

      I linked his name to the post I put up. He spent 4 years in prison for the crime of trying to defraud the VA. At least that’s VA’s take on it.

    • randy says:

      With millions of us Vets there are many who have those, “I’m tired of this BS days” and we can be a force to be reckoned with when we get to the end of our proverbial rope. The VA continues to stall, we all know it, and deny because if Mrs. Jones now has to file for her husbands benefits they can start the delay process all over again. I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel unless I step on the tracks and get hit by a train. We can however continue to push the envelope and bust their chops at every turn. I am ordering a custom tee which states “never give up” on the front and on the back it says “on my VA claim”. Will proudly wear into the VA just to rub their buns a little.

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