The US government has done a lot to thank its service members. This country has always had a disability pension for injured veterans, according to a paper published by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which is the organization responsible for the benefits of veterans these days.
VA falls behind GI Bill Payments
Today, you may not be aware, any US military veteran with a non-dishonorable discharge is entitled, at a minimum, to a full scholarship for a school of their choice. The modern GI Bill does not only cover school payments, but also pays the veteran a residence allowance equivalent to a sergeant in army housing benefits for their zip code. The program is a vital improvement of previous GI invoices in its effect of ensuring that veterans are able to participate fully in the economy when they leave active service without having to worry about feeding or renting while preparing to to do it.
However, tens of thousands of eligible veterans have been hanging out to dry for quite some time. It's not because the money is not there, even if the program is not considered an essential service when budget forecasts occur (in fact, the entire department for veterans' business is not). It is not because the VA does not want to pay them and – for once – even the banks are irreproachable. The problem, according to VA officials who were grilled last week at Capitol Hill, is the technology stack used.
Apparently, due to changes to the Forever GI Bill, a slight improvement in the Post-9/11 bill, payments were blocked due to technical difficulties. Paul Lawrence, the head of the Veteran & # 39; s Benefits Administration (the part of the VA that handles payments), testified that he had previously made an error when he set a deadline on when the program would be fixed. At the moment, he has no idea when it will be repaired. Officials said in particular that 22 of the 34 changes made to the GI Bill last year required IT work, although they were not specific about what IT changes were necessary or why they were influencing the payments made. Lawrence said:
"We did not understand the certainty around it, that's why we're not giving you an appointment."
For everything else, there is Blockchain
Now here is where the author gets angry a little.
First of all, never fix things that are not broken. In terms of software development, this means keeping the operating version running until the replacement has been tested and ready for deployment. This is to say that whatever they were using before should still be used today, so that veterans are paid. There was no mention of whether or not schools receive their payments, but presumably most universities can lose a payment or two.
Secondly, why all the opacity around the development and payment mechanisms? The author remembers having to call to check the status of his payments by GI Bill. No information would be available before the effective expiry date, and sometimes it arrived a few days later. It's a stressful experience for a veteran because he always thinks that maybe they did something wrong with their paperwork, they forgot to answer something or anything, or what you have.
Government software should be open source
It may seem extreme, but the author presents the following statement: all software developed or licensed by any democratic government should be open source. After all, it belongs to the people or the license or the code itself. If there are engineering problems that affect the implementation of the new system, then an open-source approach could provide solutions faster.
Which brings us to the third point: why not block this, so to speak? Payments are the heart of the blockchain. Privacy and a certain degree of opacity are important when it comes to people's private information, such as the benefits they receive from the government, but some form of licensed blockchain would probably have been more ideal than the construction of a "new" antiquated system that will end to be replaced in 5-20 years anyway.
No, the author is not arguing that people receive their benefits in cryptocurrencies. Not necessarily. What he is arguing is that a blockchain, whatever the most suitable solution, can be used to track and make payments. Companies like Ripple have deep links with the banking industry and could facilitate immediate payments in one way or another. A sufficient number of data could be public that a veteran could simply enter a predetermined key and see if their benefits were sent or not and when they should be sent. Payments could be monitored through the whole process. Such a move would do much to restore trust in the people who run the system.
What do you think, dear reader? Is this an aspect of the government with which blockchain could be of help? Which blockchain technology stack do you think is more likely to be used by the government for things like payments and traceability of benefits? Ripple? Ethereum? Bitcoin? NEO? We hear your opinions in the comments!
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in the article are exclusively those of the author and do not represent those of, or should be attributed to, CCN.
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