The US Department of Veterans Affairs has almost 450,000 staff, but still hiring

| November 10, 2023

The US Department of Veterans Affairs is the second largest federal employer. The VA has almost 450,000 workers. However, Denis McDonough, VA Secretary, believes that this department should have more staff. McDonough says that this is not a case of the VA being “too big.” Instead, there is a need for more veterans to access healthcare. The linked article also says that hiring additional staff will contribute to improving the hiring processes.

From the Military Times:

“I don’t think there’s a risk that all of the sudden we’re too big,” McDonough told Military Times. “There are veterans who need access to health care. There are veterans who need access to mental health care. And we want to make sure that they know we’re here for them and that they can get care with us.”

But bringing in more staff will also mean improving federal hiring processes and ensuring that incentives keep pace with private-sector competitors. It’s a challenge that McDonough said his department has been preparing for since the pandemic upended a host of staffing plans and standards.

In a wide-ranging interview ahead of Veterans Day celebrations this week, McDonough shared his goals for the coming year and the obstacles that could block them.

Military Times: How big should VA get? Is there a point where it’s a self-feeding animal, where you’re hiring people for the sake of hiring people?

McDonough: My goal is that we have a relationship with every veteran in the country. There are between 18 and 19 million veterans in the country now. [This administration] has set a simple, straightforward goal that there will be more vets in our care when we leave than when we started.

Now, that’s a challenge, because we have a health care system that is disproportionately weighted to veterans more than 60 years old. And one of the real, tremendous opportunities of the PACT Act just for us to develop relationships with younger veterans who have not had a relationship with VA, and may have been dissuaded from having a relationship with VA because of some of the stories that they’ve heard.

Let’s remember, we’re not metering out how much care goes to the community, how much care stays in house. We’re trying to make determinations based on what’s the highest quality outcome for veterans. What’s the way to ensure the best possible medical and health care outcomes? And then on the benefits side, we’re saying that these are your benefits that you have earned, so it’s our job to get them to you.

VA across the board is aggressively working to ensure that the veteran experience of each individual veteran is positive, the outcomes are positive. [Veterans] feel respected, such that they go and tell their friends that this is a good place to get care or file for your benefits.

The military Times has the rest of the article, including the balance of the interview, at this link.

Category: Veteran Health Care, Veterans' Affairs Department

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“…hiring additional staff will contribute to improving the hiring processes.” Hiring more help so you can hire more help? DaHell?!? All warm and fuzzy that you want to do the job, fulfilling the mission of caring for Vets, but maybe, just maybe, you could consider hiring quality and not quantity? Having not ever used the VA health care system, I personally have no experience with it. However, reading the articles/comments here, tales of woe from Vets that I know, and a general idea of how sorry, lazy, and good for nothing that some grubermint employees are, something does need to be done. I also think that, like real estate, location, location, location has a lot to do with the quality of care. My retired wing wiping brother is quite pleased with the level of care he gets up in Dakota, whereas a local retired wing wiping female Vet has been dragged thru the wringer. YMMV

Key thing? Do.your.freaking.job! Those traits should be instilled at an early age and carry on thru-out your life. Take personal responsibility and pride in what you do…no mater what the task is.


1. That’s mucho people to say “Not service connected!”

2. Whenever I run across a democrat marxist advocating for nationalized health care, I ask them have you ever used the VA? None ever have. I tell them go visit your local VA and talk with the veterans there.

Cause that is what you are gonna get.



This is a classic example of government double speak, IMO.
The Republic is BEYOND broke, and you want to hire more people?



If that’s the case, and I have no reason to doubt it, it’s even more ridiculous that everything takes SO LONG when dealing with them!



Somebody is lying. How did we get from 16.2M vets in 2022 to 18-19M in 2023 with a steadily declining population? We haven’t had 18M since 2017. So maybeeeee… since the idiot running thing doesn’t even know how many vets there are, he might not have the right number of employees.


Dear Selfish Jerky Bureaucrats,

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

450,000 staff…..and they STILL can’t do their f**kin’ job, or do it right.


I’ve been lucky … my local VA has been pretty good to me … but I know that many veterans aren’t getting the treatment they deserve


“McDonough: My goal is that we have a relationship with every veteran in the country.”

Why? That would require a massive increase in funding and government bureaucracy………..Oh, I see I’ve answered my own question.

“…a health care system that is disproportionately weighted to veterans more than 60 years old.”

Uh, yeah…because younger veterans are generally healthy and support themselves.

This is known as “empire building”.


My VA in Coatesville, PA is great. Can’t say enough good about them.


My personal VA story is exceptional…so far. I filed for Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) right at the 180-day window before my retirement. There were about six-seven appointments with various contracted medical screeners, and my Army medical records were all that I submitted; I didn’t even bother with the civilian records from my three years of recruiting with private healthcare. I retired 1 December, got a letter dated 7 December that I was 90%, then got another letter within a week stating that my rating was 100% P&T. There was some confusion as to when the payments started, and I subsequently got numerous letters adjusting individual disabilities, but I’ve yet to step foot in a VA facility.

Being retired, I have Tricare (and need to start making medical appointments for myself), so I don’t have to rely on the VA for healthcare. It’ll probably come at some point, though. Working full-time, I have other benefits that reduce my dependency on the VA system, but whether it’s 10 years or 35, eventually I’ll have to start using the benefits earned over two decades of jumping up to get beat down.

All that considered, I can’t talk too much smack about the VA. I will ask this snarky question, though. Is the VA seeking to “help Veterans” by simply hiring the majority of those able to work? I have many friends who left the military and now work for the VA or one of their contractors. I’ve considered applying, and a now-former coworker had an application in to perform victim advocacy services (one of many positions I’m qualified for), before taking a state job instead. I’m sticking to retail for now, because I don’t want to deal with people like me…🥸