Author Archives: Fred Wellman

Veterans Roundup: Report Says Veterans’ Volunteer Service Leads to Better Jobs, SecVA talks to MilTimes

McDonald: ‘VA Can’t Do Its Job By Itself’
Leo Shane (@LeoShane), Military Times. In an exclusive sit-down with Leo, VA Secretary Bob McDonald said that the VA is making progress in reform, despite recent criticism that it is moving too slowly. He noted that he welcomes advocates’ criticisms because the VA cannot solve all of its issues alone. To aid in his reforms, McDonald is also bringing in business and academic leaders to assist throughout the large-scale changes and to ensure that things are “done the right way.” –MC
Bottom line: In response to the many voices saying he is not moving fast enough, VA Secretary McDonald said his aggressive…

Read More

Veterans Roundup: Veterans Day in Review, the VA’s Largest Revamp Ever

Best for Vets: Colleges 2015

George Altman, Military Times. Last week, Military Times published its 2015 list of the best undergraduate colleges for veterans. The rankings considered graduation rates, veterans as a percentage of student population, and other data from the U.S. Department of Education and information provided by the individual schools. The University of Nebraska Omaha came out at the top of the list and our friends at Syracuse University ranked 39th. Also last week, The Washington Post showed us what the U.S. veteran population looks like in 10 maps. –MC
Bottom line: Anyone who has applied to a U.S. college in the last few decades is well-aware…

Read More

Veterans Roundup: VA reform, Dysfunction in Congress, and How to End Veteran Homelessness

VA Chief Answers Critics: I Can’t Just Walk Into a Room and Fire People
Josh Hicks (@reporter_hicks), The Washington Post. At a breakfast with reporters on Thursday, VA Secretary Bob McDonald addressed concerns that he is not firing problem VA employees quick enough. McDonald explained that the new law still requires due process and new legislation would be required to expedite the process. The Justice Department’s role in VA firings has flared up and officials there are refusing to comment on whether or not they requested that VA keep executives employed while Justice continues its criminal investigations—VA says DOJ made the request, but Congressional staffers say DOJ made no such request. –MC

Read More

Veterans Roundup: How to Track Veteran Candidates During the Midterms, Don’t Call It a Backlog: VA Disability Claims Increasing

VA Disability Claims Soar
Daniel Huang (@Huangplan), The Wall Street Journal. The number of VA disability claims has increased 44% in recent years, a rate many believe is too high for the VA to handle. As the VA works on improving its practices after the scandal over doctors’ appointment wait times, regulators have also seen evidence that some veterans are receiving disability pay by exaggerating claims and “stolen valor” arrests are on the rise. –MC
Bottom line: This is not a simple issue, no matter how it gets talked up in political stump speeches. Claims are rising faster than staffing levels. Pressure on reviewers is so great that they are…

Read More

Veterans Roundup: Young Veterans vs. VSOs, Student Veterans, Veterans’ Housing, Veterans in Congress

VA Moves to Prevent Veteran Violence over Disability Claims
Jordain Carney (@jordainc), National Journal. The VA is removing the compensation-and-pensions medical exam from their online system for veterans’ viewing. These documents show doctors’ comments on disability claims, often before claims are accepted or rejected. The VA fears that veterans who see the comments may become violent if they believe their claim will be denied. Some VA Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation members challenged the ethics of the removal but VA officials want to ensure safety of staff. –MC
Bottom line: On the one hand, this story plays into the fears many veterans have about VA being more afraid of veterans…

Read More