Two minutes, seventeen seconds. That’s how long it took for an Army Soldier to sign up for a Premium account on eBenefits, the joint VA-DoD one-stop shop for benefits-related information for Veterans, Service Members, their families, and their caretakers. I clocked this personally to test eBenefits’ quick signup claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs booth at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual meeting in Washington, DC last Fall.
Representatives from VBA’s Benefits Assistance Service (BAS) conduct dozens of outreach activities each year. It’s just one of the many ways VBA stays in contact with the Veterans we serve. We do this not just to help them obtain the benefits they earned and deserve, but also to obtain opinions on how we’re doing. Ultimately, if we aren’t staying connected with Veterans feedback and making improvements, we can’t know how best to support them.
Surrounding one of VA’s Mobile Vet Centers at AUSA and nestled between a video game-style weapons simulator and a vendor demonstrating aiming lasers were VA employees from several different VA service lines. Representatives from Education Service answered questions about GI Bill benefits, particularly transferability for the active duty Soldiers present, and the outreach team from BAS was on hand registering attendees in eBenefits. By the early afternoon on Monday, the eight-member BAS team had already enrolled 42 new members in the online benefits portal.
In addition to VBA’s attendance at numerous outreach events throughout the nation, last fall the Administration commissioned J.D. Power and Associates to conduct customer satisfaction research on its behalf. VBA’s Voice of the Veteran satisfaction initiative leverages J.D. Power and Associates’ expertise in customer satisfaction research to identify the factors critical to Veterans’ satisfaction with services and benefits issued by VBA. This initiative will enable VBA to continuously measure and improve the level of service to Veterans and beneficiaries.
The Voice of the Veteran satisfaction initiative began in October. By the time it is completed, J.D. Power and Associates will have collected the responses of more than 30,000 Veterans and beneficiaries. Veterans and beneficiaries have been chosen randomly by J.D. Power and Associates, and will be asked to provide feedback on how VA is performing in the areas of benefits enrollment and delivery. This initiative will focus on compensation, pension, education, home loan guaranty, specially adapted housing, and vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits.
VBA also collects feedback from Veterans through our social media channels. We maintain a Twitter feed and a Facebook page to provide important information to Veterans, as well as take in responses from users on those pages. Our social media team members engage with Veterans everyday on these channels. If you have questions about your benefits, feel free to direct them to these accounts.
For questions about the Voice of the Veteran Satisfaction initiative, contact J.D. Power and associates at 877-774-5372 (toll-free) or by e-mail at VeteransAffairs@jdpa.com. The BAS outreach team is constantly adding upcoming outreach events to the VBA Facebook page, so check it often to see when they are coming to a city near you.
Richard Allen Smith is a Web Communications Specialist for the Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Richard served on active duty in the United States Army from 2003-2008 and deployed to Afghanistan with 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division in 2007.