The VA is rolling out more features to its VETS.GOV website, continuing to move towards a unified internet presence that will make it easier for veterans to find information and manage their benefits.
Anyone who has tried to understand their VA benefits, let alone apply for them online knows that finding your way around the VA's thousands of websites can be very confusing and time-consuming. That is why VA Secretary Robert McDonald announced the creation of VETS.GOV on Veterans Day 2015.
The VETS.GOV website has greatly expanded its capabilities in the last month and will continue to do so throughout 2017.
Some of the new things you can do at VETS.GOV include:
- apply for the GI Bill with your mobile device
- refill your prescriptions and track delivery
- contact your physician
- view your disability claim status
- find the nearest VA facility, along with navigation directions
- get immediate help for the Veterans Crisis Line via text or phone with one touch.
The website is still experiencing some growing pains, but is is a step in the right direction. According to VA Secretary Robert McDonald "Vets.gov will be the single Veteran-facing website where Veterans will go to 'do something.' We take a mobile-first design approach, so everything works well on mobile devices. We are also rewriting all the content using plain language before we add it to vets.gov."
Prescription refills are only available to those who have a MyHealtheVet or DSLogin Premium account. Once you create a VETS.GOV account you will no longer have to use MyHealtheVet to manage your prescription information.
The website offers a "single-sign-on" capability where users can create their own username and password to be able to access all their information in one place.
The slightly painful sign up process took me about 15 minutes, and I got 7 texts to my cellphone for verification. I was required to upload a photo ID for identification, although I was given the option of taking a photo of it with my phone or answering several personal questions to verify my identity.
You can even link your social media login information to your account to make it easier to remember your login information. Once your account is active, however, it is much easier to use than the eBenefits and MyHealtheVet website, and you can accomplish most things on your smartphone.
The VA is rolling out more functionality in the coming months, according to the VA "soon, you'll be able to discover, apply for, track and manage all your VA benefits at vets.gov". The VA is also requesting users comment on the website or offer suggestions on how to make it better for users.