2014

Harper Government Launches New E-Services for Veterans

VANCOUVER, Oct. 1, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today announced new e-services that will allow Veterans to connect with the Department more easily and securely, as part of the "Cutting Red Tape for Veterans" initiative to improve service to Veterans, men and women in uniform, and their families. This latest round of improvements includes the launch of the new and improved My VAC Account and the brand new My VAC Book.

"Our Government believes Veterans have the right to receive better and faster service, and to access their personal information in the way that they choose when they choose," said Minister Blaney. "With these new tools, Veterans can connect with the Department at any time of the day or night, and from their mobile device."

The new and improved My VAC Account provides one-stop shopping. With one simple and secure sign-in, Veterans have the convenience and flexibility of doing business online with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. For example Veterans will now have at their fingertips the ability to:

  • have access to their account from mobile devices with Internet access;
  • securely communicate with the Department;
  • submit and track the progress of their disability benefits application;
  • see that a decision has been made on their application even before a letter is mailed;
  • update their contact information;
  • change their direct deposit information; and
  • see a summary of their current services and benefits.

My VAC Account is a fundamental piece of VAC's plan to improve online services for Veterans, and more improvements will be announced in the coming months such as submitting simplified Health Related Travel claims online.

"I am pleased to note that there have been significant improvements on My VAC Account that I believe will have a very positive effect on Veterans' ability to investigate entitlements, submit various claims and communicate through a secure medium with Veterans Affairs Canada," said Michael L. Blais, CD, Founder and President of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy. "The improvements to My VAC Account announced today have addressed many of the identified concerns about the initial program. These are substantive improvements that will undoubtedly provide faster and more efficient services for Veterans of all eras."

Minister Blaney also launched My VAC Book, a tool that provides Veterans with quicker and more convenient access to information on programs and services. Based on answers to a short series of questions, Veterans can customize their own booklet of information. Veterans will immediately receive an electronic My VAC Book with their hard copy arriving in the mail a few days later.

"It is simple and convenient," says Minister Blaney. "My VAC Book is an example of how we are using innovative and modern tools to respond more quickly to Veterans and provide them easier access to information."

Minister Blaney also spoke on VAC's partnership with Public Works and Government Services Canada's Document Imaging Services to centralize VAC's mail process so Veterans can receive decisions more quickly. Several departmental addresses will be consolidated into one by 2014.

As Veterans Affairs Canada continues to cut red tape, more improvements will be introduced.

My VAC Account and My VAC Book can be accessed at veterans.gc.ca.


Backgrounder


My VAC Account 

The new and improved My VAC Account provides one-stop shopping. With one simple and secure sign-in, Veterans have with more options for self-service and the convenience and flexibility of doing business securely online with VAC, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. For example Veterans will now have at their fingertips the ability to go online to:

  • have access to their account from mobile devices with internet access;
  • securely communicate with the Department;
  • submit and track the progress of their disability benefits application;
  • see that a decision has been made on their application even before a letter is mailed;
  • update their contact information;
  • change their direct deposit information; and
  • see a summary of their current services and benefits.

If a Veteran has a question or concern related to My VAC Account they can call, toll free, 1-866-522-2122, e-mail information@vac-acc.gc.ca, or visit a VAC district office, integrated personnel support centre, or a Service Canada centre.

My VAC Book
Veterans can now receive customized information from VAC, on demand. My VAC Book is a new print-on-demand booklet that provides Veterans and their families with personalized information about VAC services and benefits available to them. Veterans can access it through veterans.gc.ca, where they are asked a short series of questions. For example, a Veteran of the Canadian Forces would be asked three questions specific to their service. Based on their answers, a customized 12-page booklet is created and is available electronically immediately with a hard copy arriving in the mail a few days later.

Centralized Mail
With a streamlined centralized mail process, Veterans will no longer have to worry about where to send their mail. Most incoming mail to the Department will be sent to Matane, Quebec by 2014, making it easier for Veterans to send their mail where it needs to be. The consolidation of departmental addresses will happen in phases.

VAC is partnering with Public Works Government Services Canada (PWGSC) to help centralize the mail process. PWGSC's Document Imaging Services in Matane, Quebec allows departments to modernize and green their operations by replacing paper copies with digital information and to improve their client service by having electronic access to information.

Because of this modernization, VAC employees are now able to process the same information simultaneously. Veterans will not be required to resubmit documentation and this centralization will contribute to faster decision-making and turnaround times for Veterans and their families.

SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada

Image with caption: "Harper Government Launches New E-Services for Veterans (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121001_C3337_PHOTO_EN_18717.jpg



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