VA sets off flurry of talk over weather delays on Facebook page
More than 500 comments posted after VA announces payment processing delays
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Feb 08, 2011
The Veterans Affairs Department kicked off a flurry of activity on its Facebook page in recent days by saying bad weather has slowed processing of Post-9/11 GI Bill education claims.
Federal agencies are being encouraged to use social media such as Facebook to enhance engagement and interaction. The VA's processing office for the education claims started posting information about weather-related closures on Feb. 1 and on subsequent days, and has received more than 1,700 comments and "Like" messages since then.
The talk started with the VA's announcements of closures at St. Louis and Oklahoma processing offices, then moved to discussion about what the department is doing to recover from the recent storms.
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“We’re trying to catch up,” the VA said in a Facebook post on Feb. 4. “You’re right that we at VA are behind the curve right now.”
“The mess with the winter weather has had an impact on all of our processing offices,” the VA said. “Unfortunately, we can’t get your enrollments processed if we can’t get to work. We are pulling out all the stops to make up for the lost time. We want to reassure you that we don’t expect huge delays and we will get caught up very soon.”
The VA also put out an official announcement of the delays today, adding that it expects to return to normal processing within the next week to 10 days.
As a result of the delays, some veterans did not receive payments for their educational bills on Feb. 1, when they were due to be paid, the VA said.
The official announcement was published on the VA's Facebook Wall today as well.
The responses from veterans have ranged from angry and frustrated to a few positive remarks.
“Look cut the crap, I need my money!” a commenter posted on the Facebook page today.
“This is ridiculous, 39 days, no pay,” posted another commenter today.
But others defended the VA. “Never mind the haters, the rest of us appreciate what help you can give,” wrote another today.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.