The Veterans Affairs Department’s $492 million paperless Veterans Benefits Management System routinely shuts down on roughly a weekly basis, according to reports from members of the American Federation of Government Employees who use the system.
AFGE members reported “during the last month that VBMS shut down on roughly a weekly basis,” Eric Jenkins, a ratings service representative at the VA’s Winston-Salem, N.C., regional office and a member of the AFGE National VA Council, told a hearing of the House VA subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs. “The shut downs varied from just over an hour to spanning multiple days.”
Jenkins, a disabled Marine who served in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq also told the hearing that VBMS – rolled out incrementally last year and now deployed to all 56 Veterans Benefits Administration regional offices – has a hard time handling a full load of end users.
“Since the program’s expansion, the additional users have exacerbated existing latency problems with VBMS. Employees on the east coast report that the system experiences latency as more users log on to VBMS (as the other time zones begin arriving to work),” Jenkins said in written testimony for the hearing held on Wednesday.
Good to hear from a worker in the trenches on VBMS.