Senator Mark Udall met with Welcome Home Montrose and a number of other individuals and groups who promote caring for our veterans. The VA, medical workers and veterans were also at the meeting.
Welcome Home Montrose did their homework before coming to the meeting by talking with many veterans in Montrose, San Miguel and Ouray Counties. Co-Director Emily Smith said, “We found that many vets were frustrated with the communications” relating to their various claims. “We encouraged Senator Udall to make some simple changes to the E-Benefits system that will help vets get their benefits in a timely manner and help them feel more comfortable with the process.”
Currently, vets can log into their E-Benefits account and see that their applications are being processed, but there is little other tracking available. Also, many VA workers who help the vets in their application process don’t have any detailed information about the process other than that the application is being processed. Welcome Home Montrose suggested that because the application process requires so many different forms, documentation and people checking off each part of the process, a tracking mechanism should be implemented. Such a system could include a checklist of the required documents along with a verification that the document was received.
They suggested that the system also include showing who has the paperwork and where the paperwork needs to go throughout the process. Many vets call in to add information but have no idea who to contact because their paperwork has already gone to another person.
There was one of the vets who said that his paperwork sat on the desk of an employee for a month after that employee was fired,” continued Smith. “His benefits were delayed and he had no idea where his paperwork was. A simple tracking system would help avoid those kinds of problems.”