VA works to increase benefits access to veterans

VA gets serious about making it easier for vets to access their benefits. More information from Leo Phalen, Va\'s director of Veterans Relationship Management.

VA officials from Secretary Eric Shinseki on down have said they want to improve the service to the nation’s veterans. Now VA is putting its money where its mouth is. The department recently awarded contracts worth nearly a half billion dollars. The goal is to build a one-stop-shopping portal known as the Veterans Relationship Management System, or VRM. Leo Phalen, Va’s director of Veterans Relationship Management joined the Federal Drive with more information.

What is VRM? From the VA:

WHAT IS VETERANS RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (VRM)?

Veterans Relationship Management (VRM) is a broad multi-year initiative to improve Veterans’ secure access to health care and benefits information and assistance. VRM will provide VA employees with up-to-date tools to better serve Veterans and their families, and Veterans will be empowered through enhanced self-service capabilities. This initiative is in response to Secretary Shinseki’s message announcing that VA will transform itself into a 21st century organization that is people-centric, results-driven, and forward-looking in order to better serve Veterans.

HOW WILL THIS IMPROVE THE VETERANS’ EXPERIENCE WITH THE VA?

Improved speed, accuracy, and consistency of service and information

Veterans deserve accurate responses in a consistent and predictable manner regardless of how the contact is made. The VRM initiative will improve telephone services, including a benefits national queue to minimize wait times to reach a call center agent and call recording to improve the quality and service provided to Veterans. VRM will enhance the tools supporting contact center agents by consolidating knowledge sources and sharing customer data across VA. These tools, along with appropriate agent training, will enable VA call center agents to quickly and accurately respond to Veterans’ questions.

Empowerment through choice of interaction with VA through many communications channels including in-person, telephone, web, postal mail, email, and social media

The types of client-service interactions that are common to Veterans and their families today are changing rapidly, along with our clients’ expectations for easier and efficient access. VRM creates multi-channel access to VA employees, providing Veterans with important personal information, and puts the Veteran in the driver’s seat of the benefits application experience.

Enhanced user-friendly tools to perform self-service on-demand

VRM will incrementally provide self-service access to a multitude of benefits and services, including military personnel records, eligibility to VA loan certificates, and status of compensation and pension claims. These enhancements will also help to improve the claims processing system into a timely user-centric process and eliminate extensive wait times.

Secure, simple, and easy-to-use access though a single sign-on

VRM will establish a secure and easy-to-use access capability though a single sign-on, to access all of the applications for the many benefits available, such as health, compensation, and education. Single sign-on capability will quickly establish the Veteran’s identity, and allow them to complete their transactions without having to repeat or re-enter information.

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