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2022-10-19 - 5:49 p.m.

AH once home I decided to log into the VEC site to see if it would randomly work for me.

The news of their site being hacked I was told from the other lady there to try to get her payments (as we first checked in and were waiting to be helped) was clearly TRUE as I overhead the VEC employees updating the Mayor of Winchester about the challenges they faced when the folks at the Richmond office at the receiving end of the 1-800 calls were sending folks to their LOCAL offices-
where the staff at the local offices had ZERO capability of actually doing anything for them!

They were reporting to the mayor the system was down and they could not initialize new claims.

Then sometimes it would work; very randomly and sproadically. They said they could not generate a new pin for someone to set them up in the system- and then randomly they would be able to but it was was inconsistent.

So on the VEC site there WAS A PRESS RELEASE as FRAUD was identified.

Someone apparently updated folks accounts with DIFFERENT BANK ACCOUNT INFO to attempt to route thousands of payments elsewhere than to the actual recipients.

What a mess. I hope this hack was limited to VA and not affecting OTHER STATES EN MASS. What is most concerning is that this system apparently ( according the lady who was speaking to me) happened LAST YEAR as well! It will be interesting to look at other state sites to see if it happend to them... just had that thought. Cause well, you know , organized crime is often well.. organized. And attacks at points of services tend to not hit ONE agency but MULTIPLE at the SAME TIME. That is the kicker.
It kinda proves the point that it is NOT THE POOR you need to fear are gaming the system!
This is what is awful. Some genuinely good hard working people without perhaps advanced skills but your AVG laborer are challenging ON A GOOD DAY when systems work i alreayd have trouble with navigating an already overly complicated system.

Then highly educated, sophisticated hackers can derail this system further to THEIR GAIN.

Again it is not THE POOR or WORKING MIDDLE CLASS who hit a rough patch that orgs and policy makers should fear OR whom SYSTEM Designers should fear and design to protect against. That is not the fraud one needs to worry about! (As the good Mayor pointed out- if someone is ALREADY identified in a VA system as there should not be need for them to be identied again and again multiple times!) There should be SOME simpler streamlinging and information sharing capability AMONG social services depts. .

System design needs to focus on not being able to be penetrated by EXTERNAL hackers rather than ridiculous hoops for the users to jump through.

Its so disappointing.

The lady who I spoke with at that local office clearly could not help me. She just said "Oh I see there is a letter you are ineligble for benefits." to which I said "Yes and I filed an appeal of that letter." She said "you just have to wait until appointed a hearing." * Point of fact that is quite irrelevant to the fact I WAS ABLE to file weekly claims (even with that Appeal pending ) until a couple weeks ago! But I just let the issue drop at that point and figure was not getting any help from her further and said "OK Then- I will wait for that letter." as I ALREADY Sent a letter requesting they fix the issue and allow me to file claims AS OF Sept 17th ( I think that may be the last week I successfully filed a weekly claim! Either that week or week ending the 24th)
They also couldn't do a thing for the other lady but at least they PRETENDED To try as she was so upset and threatening to walk right into the news station to discuss the abysmal situation and they figured best idea to see if they could TRY To work with the Richmond office to placate her. I have no doubt they TRIED from the local office.

I also had an experience today which highlights challenges of the poor. As I was HUNGRY After leaving the VEC office after job hunting. (I applied for three or four jobs this afternoon), I stopped at a supermarket en route home. My kid made kimche and my tenant tasted it last night and said it was really good and would be awesome on a ruben. So I did some grocery shopping and picked up fried chicken ready to eat ( as was starving) and a bunch of other groceries including corned beef and a nice swiss cheese and good Jewish Rye and the Boars Head Saurkraut since I saw that bag right there from the Deli Dept. I also grabbed a couple items of sunscreen on clearance that said REEF SAFE. Not its not likely I will be traveling any time soon- BUT My son DOES happen to live in a beautiful place where it is LITERALLY ILLEAGAL to not use reef safe sunscreen as well the environment is important to maintain. Coral Reef are really dying a quick death in recent years ( climate change and sunscreen chemicals etc)- so in some areas of our world it really is critical to pay attention to the sunscreen one buys! This was on clearance $5 instead of the initial price of something like $16.99 I think? Understand why it did not sell HERE in Northern VA! BUT I grabbed a spray can and a tube of the mineral reef safe so in future when travel am not spending $30 or more on sunscreen. Now I don't really have the extra $10 but it still seemed smart .Its also a good Christmas gift to send my son! (FOR REAL HE has guests and he uses SO MUCH suncreen and provides it and honestly its like a staple and where he lives it is expensive! He figures no exaggeration he spends $50 a month on sunscreen) But I was just shocked when checking out with my EBT food stamps that it was not that $10 that showed up I needed to pay CASH for as not covered- I mean I EXPECTED that sunsceen to be cash out of pocket BUT it was a bit over $50 in a CASH bill! I was hungry and just did self check out and was just too tired and overwealmed to call the clerk and not purchase the deli meat and cheest I just had them cut for me. I mean I figured out then that all the DELI items are seen- this is the kicker as NON ESSENTIAL "LUXURIES" I mean on food stamps one can buy CHICKEN you can go home and cook but the freaking in store fried chicken is seen as a luxury. I mean poor people can't buy PRE PREPARED HOT FOODS. What the fuck? How fucking Ableist is that! I mean just think about that. Seriously ill , chronically ill, disabled who have very little energy who are just fucking wiped out FOR DAYS after navigating a trip to the supermarket (I am not exaggerating this as it is seriously exausting to point of debilitating for some) cannot buy any prepared ready to eat food.? REALLY? Cause it is too luxurious? I was super hungry at the time. I had only eaten a muffin and cofee near lunch time ( around 11 am) after the local business association event- as they had those there. I grabbed both to go and ate in my car. So after a few hours of dedicated job hunting I was hungry. I had forgotton this distinction of what food one could get with SNAP. So freaking stupid and I will say it again- abelist. This does not help those who are in need of food assistance due to illness. I realized it was the deli dept which is seen as the luxury. DAMN those better be good rubens when I make them tomorrow. As they are actually out of budget but I bought the ingredients anyway. OH Crap, Just realized I FORGOT the thousand island dressing. HA I have to go back to the store for that! There are also two prescriptions ready for kids so need to go out again anyway. ( Heard a pharmacy voicemail) But first - to wrap up TODAY's TO DO: going to go BACK to the AAA site I did finally get into today! YEAH and set up payment from checking account directly to save those few dollars. It was a productive day overall; despite no progress with VEC.

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Today just a chill day at home in the end. - 2022-10-21


🎃 The VEC person said unlocked my account and reactivated it! Still no claim filed for past couple of weeks but progress - 2022-10-21


I reused coffee grounds and so far so good! Worked OK - 2022-10-21


Same first name, really? - 2022-10-20


VEC just makes me laugh at this point. Tried again this AM between shuttling kids to Dr. Appts. - 2022-10-20