WASHINGTON -- A flawed computer program is making life difficult for potentially millions of veterans.
A new, nearly $300 million digital system was supposed to speed up claims. But it may have done more damage than good for veterans and taxpayers.
After they come home, veterans know a battle still looms. Obtaining benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs has always been like pulling teeth. A new process called the Veterans Benefits Management System was thought to be the answer to the many complaints made about the time it takes to process veterans claims.
As it turns out, that new and costly system is a complete failure, making it far worse than it was before.
"One program after another, after another fails," said Joseph Phillips, who is the commander of an American Legion post and served in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. "Everything falls through the cracks, and the only ones being hurt by this are our veterans."
The Department of Veterans Affairs spent $273 million for software to make the switch from paper to digital and minimize errors. But as Phillip Swarts, with the Washington Guardian, discovered, the Veterans Affairs Department failed to properly test the software.
"Investigators in the of Office of Inspector General aren't sure that the system can be fixed," explained Swarts. "And they are worried that it might need to be scrapped and completely start back from square one."
Just how fouled up is the new system?
Veterans Affairs employees told investigators that under the old 'paperwork' process, it took about four minutes to process a claim. Under the shiny, new multi-million dollar system, it takes 18 minutes to do the same work.
And the inspector general found that the Department of Veterans Affairs plans to spend more money, an additional $92 million on the same system in the coming months.
"Come to find out, how much money has been squandered," Phillips said. "Somebody's head ought to roll, especially in the Veterans Administration."
The inspector general says the Department of Veterans Affairs did not bother to run realistic tests before purchasing the software.
To find out more, CLICK HERE
to visit the Washington Guardian website.