Pentagon & Congress

Thousands locked out of Pentagon and VA benefits websites

The Defense Manpower Data Center logon system that provides millions of troops, military retirees, veterans and family members access to Defense and Veterans Affairs Departments medical and ID card information, pay records and benefits has been down for at least two days, frustrating users trying to obtain personal information or take care of business with the federal government.

Patients attempting to log into Tricare Online Patient Portal encountered error messages starting Wednesday that stated the page could not be verified. Lee Castillo, the spouse of a military retiree who lives in Fairfax, Va., said he has not been able to obtain the results of medical tests as a result.

“I don’t know why this hasn’t been reported more widely. It affects millions of people,” Castillo told Military Times.

Castillo attempted to reach Tricare through Twitter Friday and was told the military health program was “unaware of any outages at the moment.” Tricare advised users to call the Tricare Online Help Desk if they needed to contact the system.

A message on the Defense Health Agency Global Help/Service Desk, however, said DoD was aware of the issue.

“Please be advised that users of Tricare Online and MHS Genesis [electronic health records system] may be experiencing access issues when logging onto the website. Our engineers are aware and are working to resolve the issues,” the message stated.

The problem stems from DS Logon, an identification platform by the Defense Manpower Data Center, DMDC, that lets DoD and VA beneficiaries access more than 40 websites. A Defense Health Agency spokesman said DS Logon remains active for those using it on a DoD network computer with a Common Access Card but is unavailable to those using outside computers.

According to the official, DMDC “has been working closely with the Defense Information Systems Agency to resolve the outage to our external partners.”

The logon is not expected to be operational until at least 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

This is at least the 7th outage in a year for the site, which serves as a lifeline for veterans and military family members to access information on their DoD and VA-related benefits.

While Defense Health Agency officials said the problem did not affect internal operations, some ID card sites and military health facilities reportedly experienced problems with their medical appointment and prescription databases. Users also reported problems Friday at military ID card renewal sites.

“This is a major problem and they don’t say a word about it,” Castillo said. “Forty-eight hours to acknowledge the problem."

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