EBenefits

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eBenefits (sometimes referred to as My eBenefits ) is a web portal managed jointly by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the United States Department of Defense (DoD) to provide Service members, Veterans and eligible dependents the ability to manage their VA and DoD benefits, claims, and military documents online. The eBenefits portal offers two main services: a customizable workspace that provides personalized and secure VA & DoD information and more than 45 self-service tools and a catalog of links to military and Veteran benefits on other web sites. There is also a mobile eBenefits version that is accessible via mobile device or tablet.[1]

According to VA, as of November 2012, more than 2.1 million Service members, Veterans and eligible family members are registered to use the eBenefits site. Since April 2010, there have been over 14 million views for pending disability claim status through the site.

VA’s Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) manages the eBenefits web portal with DoD. VBA is the agency responsible for overseeing VA programs that provide financial and other forms of assistance to Veterans, their dependents, and survivors. The portal supports VBA’s Veterans Relationship Management System (VRM) initiative, a multi-year project whose goal is to improve the speed, accuracy, and consistency of the healthcare and benefits service and information that Veterans and their families receive from VA.

Project history[edit]

The President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors (also known as the Dole/Shalala Commission) recommended the creation of a web portal that would serve wounded, injured and ill Service members as well as Veterans, their families, and their caregivers. According to the Commission, the portal should provide a single-sign on, central access point to online benefits and related services. The Commission was established by U.S. President George W. Bush through Executive Order 13426 on March 6, 2007. As a result of the Commission’s recommendation, the eBenefits site was inaugurated in 2009.[2]

Importance of the program[edit]

On September 26, 2011, the Honorable Allison A. Hickey, VA Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Benefits, told a Veterans Issues forum sponsored by the Military Officers Association of America, that “eBenefits is the VA/DoD virtual lifetime electronic record for benefits…Please, please encourage your membership and others to get on eBenefits because they will have access and information in their hands that will expand their abilities to leverage the entitlements that they have and should take advantage of."[3] In a recent survey, VA learned that 73 percent of Service members and Veterans want to gain access to their benefits electronically.[1]

How to access eBenefits[edit]

Before Veterans or Service members can access and use eBenefits they must be listed in the Defense Enrollment and Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and obtain a DS Logon. A DS Logon is an identity (username and password) that is used by various DoD and VA websites, including eBenefits. If you are already registered in DEERS, you are eligible for a DS Logon. Once you have a DS Logon, it's valid for the rest of your life.

Users can choose from two levels of registration, DS Logon Level 1 (Basic Account) and DS Logon Level 2 (Premium Account). A Basic eBenefits Account lets you customize the site and access information you enter into eBenefits yourself; however, you cannot see your personal information in VA or DoD systems. A Premium eBenefits Account allows you to view personal data about yourself in VA and DoD systems, apply for benefits online, check the status of your claims, update your address records, and more. A Premium Account gives you the highest level of access to eBenefits features.

Note: If you attempt to register and are informed you have no DEERS record, VA will first need to verify your military service and add you to DEERS. This is most likely for Veterans who served prior to 1982. Individuals should contact a VA Regional Office for assistance in being added to DEERS.

How to register for an eBenefits account[edit]

You can register for an eBenefits account online using the eBenefits DS Logon Account Registration Wizard. You will be walked through a series of questions to assist you in obtaining a Premium eBenefits Account, which gives you the highest level of access to eBenefits features. To get a Premium eBenefits Account, you must verify your identity. Many people will be able to verify their identity online by answering a few security questions. Service members may verify their identity online by using their Common Access Card (CAC). Military retirees may verify their identity online using their Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) Logon. For those unable to verify their identity online, you will instantly receive a Basic Account. However, Veterans in receipt of VA benefits via direct deposit may have their identity verified by calling 1-800-827-1000 and selecting option 7. My HealtheVet users with a DS Logon may use their secure identity to access eBenefits. Others may need to visit a VA Regional Office or TRICARE Service Center to have their identities verified in person.

Features[edit]

With a Premium eBenefits account, Service members, Veterans and their families can access over 45 features.

If you are a veteran[edit]

  • Use the eLearning Center for the online transition assistance program and more
  • View Post-9/11 GI Bill enrollment status
  • Use the VA for Vets or VetSuccess employment search
  • View DoD TRICARE health insurance
  • Sign up for Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) (Time limits apply)
  • Apply for Veterans benefits online (VONAPP)
  • Search for an accredited representative or organization
  • Use the Benefits Explorer tool
  • Apply for or modify your dependency benefits
  • Utilize a fast track claims processing system for Vietnam Veterans
  • Conduct a health benefits eligibility check
  • Order medical equipment such as hearing aid batteries and prosthetic socks
  • Check on your appeal status
  • Check on your compensation and pension claims status
  • Check on your specially adapted housing grant application and claim status
  • Generate a VA home loan certificate of eligibility
  • Obtain official military personnel documents such as DD Form 214
  • Register for and update direct deposit information for certain benefits
  • View VA Payments

If you are a service member[edit]

  • Use the eLearning Center for the online transition assistance program and more
  • Transfer Post-9/11 education benefits
  • Check enrollment status
  • View DoD TRICARE health insurance
  • View DoD TRICARE reserve select
  • Sign up for Service member out-of-pocket medical expenses (CCD)
  • View Service members' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) elections
  • Apply for Veterans benefits online (VONAPP)
  • Use the Benefits Explorer tool
  • Conduct a health benefits eligibility check
  • Update Service member civilian employment information
  • View Service member personnel information
  • Check on your specially adapted housing grant application and claim status
  • Generate a VA home loan certificate of eligibility

If you are a family member of a veteran or service member[edit]

  • Use the eLearning Center to get important health information
  • Use the Benefits Explorer tool
  • View Post-9/11 GI Bill enrollment status
  • Check your VA payment history

Future expansion of the program[edit]

VA and DoD continue to expand the number of self-service features available to Premium users of the eBenefits portal on a regular basis. According to VA, Service members and Veterans with Premium Accounts will soon be able to search for jobs within VA, receive employment counseling online, and apply for VA compensation benefits using a wizard-style tool.[1] Other proposed features include enhanced online access to enroll and manage Service members & Veterans Group Life Insurance (SGLI), the ability to apply for and receive the status of medical benefits for qualified military dependents under VA’s CHAMPVA program; a single-sign on allowing users to move between eBenefits and VA’s My Health eVet web portal; the ability to apply for burial benefits using a wizard-style tool, and mobile application versions of selected eBenefits features.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA Vantage Blog). "Accessing VA and DoD Information is Getting Easier by Rob Reynolds". 
  2. ^ U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "About eBenefits". 
  3. ^ CSPAN Video Library. "Allison Hickey Remarks on Veterans Issues".