In November The Department of Veterans Affairs will launch a new web portal which aims to give veterans access to its more than one thousand veteran-related websites through one website. The new hub—a kind of digital front door--will be called “vets.gov.” "What we want is one portal, and we want the veteran to be able to go in, check on a claim, add a dependent, sign up for an education benefit, change their address and get that done online, at Vets.gov," said VA's Chief Veterans Experience Officer Tom Allin.
Last year’s scandal over wait times at VA hospitals has shined a spotlight on the urgent need for the VA to improve its delivery of services. In announcing this new method to interface with the VA, the new VA Secretary Robert McDonald has acknowledged that the VA needs to simplify the way veterans can access their benefits.
Vets.gov will go live on Veterans Day, November 11, but may not be fully operational at that time. The VA’s subcontractor for the site is still working in a single secure sign-on system. The VA acknowledged that there is still a lot of work to be done, but expects the site to be fully functional by September 2016. Nextgov.com points out that the task is complex. “The VA health system has at least 225 databases that ‘don't talk to each other’. They have different data rules, and so (the VA) can't tell who is actually using (its services) today among veterans,” the nextgov website reported.