Veterans Benefits Website Has Problems Like HealthCare.gov

Monday, 10 Feb 2014 03:45 PM

By Courtney Coren

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HealthCare.gov isn't the only government website that has faced problematic glitches: the veterans benefits website has been plagued with similar problems for about a year and a half.

The Veterans Benefits Management System, which cost $537 million to build, was launched in fall 2012, and is live at the Department of Veterans Affairs office in New England as well as at its 56 regional offices across the country, Fox News reports.

Eric Jenkins, a veteran who also represents the American Federation of Government Employees, told a House Veterans Affairs subcommittee on Wednesday that the website crashed at least once a week in January and was down anywhere from an hour to several days.

"The constant . . . technical issues and frequent shutdowns make it difficult for me and others to serve veterans," Jenkins said.

The reason for going paperless is to get through a backlog of claims by 2015. Claims increased significantly in 2010 as more troops started returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jenkins explained, however, that sometimes when the system crashes, the electronic claims he was processing get deleted and he doesn't have anything on paper to use as backup.

The system, like HealthCare.gov, also slows down tremendously when more users are on it, Jenkins added.

Republican Rep. John Runyan of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, said there are also major security issues, citing a recent  breach in which the private information of 1,400 users was compromised.

"The lack of security is of tremendous concern," he said.

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