Friday, June 23, 2006

Finally, Some Action on VA Security Breach

A Senate panel yesterday approved $160M in spending to pay for credit monitoring for America's veterans whose personal data was stolen early last month when a VA employee's laptop computer was stolen.

Naturally, Repugnicans on the committee wanted to pay for it out of existing VA funds, but my good senator and friend to all veterans, Patty Murray (D-WA), said "I don't think it's acceptable to tell our veterans we lost your personal information, and by the way, we're going to cut your health care to pay for it." Way to go, Patty!

At the same time, according to the NYT story, a House panel was told that credit monitoring alone might not be enough.

However, the money is a welcome gesture, but knowing how slowly the government works, it probably won't be until fall that the money is available to us. And god knows how many strings will be attached, or how many hoops we'll have to jump through to get action on our compromised credit.

In the meantime, we need to keep on top of our own credit scores by watching closely all of our credit card statements, etc. That in itself, of course, won't be enough, since any new credit applications -- which is the major danger here -- we likely won't know about. This is why it's important to review your credit report regularly. You are entitled to one free credit report each year, which you can request at (1-877-322-8228). I suggest that you do this ASAP, to establish a base line against which future credit reports can be measured.

See also the Q&A on the website for information on what happened and what you can do.

Remember, it isn't just veterans discharged after 1975 -- it affects ALL veterans who have ever filed a claim for VA disability compensation, pension, or education benefits, or who have (or had) a VA insurance policy –- no matter when they were discharged, when the claim was filed, or whether the claim was approved or denied.

And that's pretty much all of us.


The Future Was Yesterday said...

I received my letter "Dear Vet: We seem to have fucked up" weeks ago. I anticipate my "credit" assistance in a few decades. We are high in the nations profiles one day a year; that when they can dress us up and parade us around like so many old dogs from the pound. The other 364 days we are affirmed members of the mushroom society.

merlallen said...

Every once in a while I email Senator Murray and tell I am proud she represents me.

merlallen said...

We must be almost neighbors.