June 22, 2024

Veteran Affairs Secretary Must Account for Misappropriation of Funds Amid Veteran Needs

Washington, D.C., May 23, 2024 (USANews.com) – Gunnery Sergeant Ramon Aponte Jr. (USMC, Ret.), a 100 percent disabled veteran, voices urgent concern over the Department of Veteran Affairs’ recent financial missteps, highlighted by the improper allocation of nearly $11 million in incentive bonuses to top executives. This misuse of funds, intended for the critical care and services for veterans, has led to bipartisan demands for accountability and restitution.

Recent reports from Military.com and Military Times reveal that these bonuses were erroneously paid out under the PACT Act—legislation aimed at supporting veterans exposed to toxic substances during service. The Department of Veterans Affairs has admitted to the oversight and has pledged to recoup the wrongly distributed funds amidst congressional scrutiny. The VA leadership is also undergoing a comprehensive review of its Critical Skill Incentive program to prevent future misallocations.

Aponte states, “It’s unacceptable that funds designated for ailing veterans were diverted to executives already receiving competitive salaries. As someone directly affected by delays in medical care, including essential cancer treatment, this mismanagement is personal and devastating.”

He urges VA Secretary Denis McDonough to take decisive action, suggesting the implementation of paycheck deductions to recover the bonuses. “Such measures are commonplace in military finance errors and should be employed here to correct these grave mistakes swiftly,” Aponte adds.

The misuse of funds intended for veteran care not only highlights systemic issues within the VA but also erodes trust among veterans who rely on the institution for essential health services. Aponte, supported by fellow veterans and advocates, calls for immediate and transparent action to rectify these wrongs and realign the department’s priorities toward the health and well-being of its veterans.

Veteran Affairs Secretary Must Account for Misappropriation of Funds Amid Veteran Needs

Washington, D.C., May 23, 2024 (USANews.com) – Gunnery Sergeant Ramon Aponte Jr. (USMC, Ret.), a 100 percent disabled veteran, voices urgent concern over the Department of Veteran Affairs’ recent financial missteps, highlighted by the improper allocation of nearly $11 million in incentive bonuses to top executives. This misuse of funds, intended for the critical care and services for veterans, has led to bipartisan demands for accountability and restitution.

Recent reports from Military.com and Military Times reveal that these bonuses were erroneously paid out under the PACT Act—legislation aimed at supporting veterans exposed to toxic substances during service. The Department of Veterans Affairs has admitted to the oversight and has pledged to recoup the wrongly distributed funds amidst congressional scrutiny. The VA leadership is also undergoing a comprehensive review of its Critical Skill Incentive program to prevent future misallocations.

Aponte states, “It’s unacceptable that funds designated for ailing veterans were diverted to executives already receiving competitive salaries. As someone directly affected by delays in medical care, including essential cancer treatment, this mismanagement is personal and devastating.”

He urges VA Secretary Denis McDonough to take decisive action, suggesting the implementation of paycheck deductions to recover the bonuses. “Such measures are commonplace in military finance errors and should be employed here to correct these grave mistakes swiftly,” Aponte adds.

The misuse of funds intended for veteran care not only highlights systemic issues within the VA but also erodes trust among veterans who rely on the institution for essential health services. Aponte, supported by fellow veterans and advocates, calls for immediate and transparent action to rectify these wrongs and realign the department’s priorities toward the health and well-being of its veterans.

For more information, please contact:
Gunnery Sergeant Ramon Aponte Jr. (USMC, Ret.)


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