Military Connection: VA Uses Twitter to Help Vets! By Debbie Gregory

VetQIn today’s high-tech world, it is frustrating to have to wait days, sometimes weeks, for answers to important questions. After all, what is the point of living in the Information Age if information isn’t always readily available?

The VA realizes that for far too long, its information and resources have been behind the times. That is why Veteran resources, such as upgraded websites and paperless online applications, have been implemented. In the latest attempt to provide Veterans with Information Age assistance, on July 30, 2014, the VA launched #VetQ.

The #VetQ initiative is a new tool generated from the partnership between the VA, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), and several other partners. The tool encourages Veterans to ask questions regarding benefits, claims, resources and eligibility through the social media and microblogging network Twitter.

Veterans are urged to send any questions via Twitter using (the hashtag) #VetQ. While the site is sanctioned by the VA, the department is not using taxpayer dollars to fund the initiative, nor are VA employees answering the Tweeted questions. Instead, the VA invited its partners from the VFW, the PVA and several other Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) to assist Veterans, utilizing their certified service officers.

Using #VetQ, Veterans can ask questions on topics ranging from the Post-9/11GI Bill, to VA home loans, to health and disability benefits. The VA said that it is encouraging its partners to answer a Veteran’s question, even if other VSOs have already responded, to ensure that Veterans are getting the most information available, and not just the recollections of one individual.

While the parameters of Twitter will limit Veterans’ questions to a maximum of 140 characters, the expediency of responses will make the tool a worthwhile experience.

It is understandable that not every Veteran has a Twitter account, and this tool will never replace the VA website **or** the utilization of VA representatives. But the major benefit of #VetQ is that millions of Veterans do have Twitter accounts, especially younger Veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A lot of these Veterans have never used any of their VA benefits, and have questions about where to start. #VetQ will be a great resource for these Veterans who could use the help from Veterans who came before them.

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Military Connection: VA Uses Twitter to Help Vets!   By Debbie Gregory