Why "Craigslist Founder Joins Veterans Affairs Innovation Search Panel"

Why "Craigslist Founder Joins Veterans Affairs Innovation Search Panel"


Yup, that's me, figuring I should practice what I preach, in addition to strongly supporting the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Craig Newmark, the founder of
“craigslist” and a well-known technology visionary, has agreed to serve
on the blue-ribbon panel of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
that will review and evaluate ideas to improve disability claims
processing times and provide greater transparency to Veterans.

The innovation competition
solicited ideas from VA employees and members of Veterans Service
Organizations who are on the front lines every day, working with
Veterans to help deliver benefits they deserve and need.  VA officials
from each of the 57 regional offices across the country have submitted
promising ideas, which will be reviewed by Newmark and other panel
members.  The panel will be chaired by Patrick W. Dunne, the VA Under
Secretary for Benefits.

Supporting the troops, that's just not words, and it means also doing something for veterans back home. Through most of human history, they rarely get the treatment they've earned. Now that we have an Administration that really supports the troops, we should be serious about that.

The deal here is in any large organization, the rank and file knows what's really going on and can do things a lot better. However, that doesn't get to top management normally.

However, social media spreads around vital information and suggestions in a manner wherein people can support each other, and get the message to the top.

I figure that's not only true of the Department of Veterans Affairs, but other agencies, like State, FCC, and Homeland Security. (Check that link out!)

So, the deal is to get a kind of internal discussion board, where people share information and ideas how to do things much better. I have the privilege of helping judge the whole deal.

Next? Well, there's lots more work to do.




Craig, as a VietNam vet (one of the forgotten) I'm glad to see an outsider get on-board for Veterans. Here's an idea, but first a short story. Upon my return from VietNam I was found to be mentally unfit for further duty by a medical board of Navy Doctors and recommended for discharge due to a permanant physical disability psychoneuratic in nature (PTSD specifically), I was given an Honorable discharge a plane ticket and dumped on the streets, no medical follow-up or advice.Kind of like being diagnosed with cancer, then being asked to leave the doctors office..I was also exposed to Agent Orange, which the government denied any side effects of for about 20 years..WHen I returned home, in uniform, I was spit on and called a baby killer. But that was a different time and war. I'd like for you to review the recent Law suit that was kicked out of the system by the supreme court to get an idea of how the V.A. really works, the bonus's for recycling cases, and how the system is set up to first deny a vet's claim despite it's validity, and how the vet is taken down a rediculus road of appeals that in my particular case has been going on for close to 20 years. Take a look at how the 'pre-existing' deal has been used on desperate GI's to safegaurd the VA from having to pay-out millions if not billions. Also, look at how the veteran is denied legal help, other than recognized service groups that often have such a cozy relationship with the VA that they have offices in the same buildings as the VA and recently sided with VA against allowing vets to hire lawyers as this would cut into their due's paying membership..Also look at how a veteran can't hire a lawyer until he (or she) has exausted the appeals gauntlet.I had been appealing part of my case for 15 years until I got it to the BVA (Board of Veterans Appeals) their reply was filled with so much "legalease" that even my state funded VA rep didn't know what to make of it and I consequentially missed out on a court date that I had waited those 15 years for…I don't seek retribution for speaking up (as I have recieved it in the past) but you have to know what to look for in order to change a system that is so against the veteran and so pro-bureaucracy. At the begining of my battle with the VA, I believed the pamphlets that said they would act as my advocate only to discover that they were my biggest advisaries..

1949 Ford

Hi Craig,
I'm also a Vietnam Vet who has experienced similar problems with the VA as "Viet Nam Vet" above.
One proposal is for the VA to accept all veterans' disability claims when submitted much like the IRS "honor system" that accepts tax returns and sends refund checks with filers knowing IRS has several years to audit each filing. I believe a national retail system could easily be crafted by existing distributed services companies like H&R Block, Liberty Tax Services, Jackson Hewitt. They have experience and systems that deal with thousands of pages of confusing tax code, confidential personal materials, time deadlines and translating confusing federal regulations to lay persons. In summary, have the VA accept claims filed by "accredited" agents (e,g, IRS Enrolled Agents, CPA's, public accountants, notary publics, veterans services officers, etc) Close the 57 VA offices around the united states and let those people find private sector jobs maybe as paid claims agents. Haver the VA pay each agent a set fee (much like we pay an appraiser for a home loan appraisal) for turning in a completed and accepted claim file for a veteran. The VA now has a marginal cost of $15,000 per claim to gear up and process new claims —- per Adm. Dunne (2009 hearing). Good luck in your discussions.

Ilya Marritz

Hello Craig,
I'm a journlist with New York Public Radio, and I was really interested to hear you're getting involved in this. Might you be available to do a 5-minute phone interview today – why you care about improving benefits delivery, and what the options are?
Thanks in advance,

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