Veterans can fill in forms for health, other benefits online

Veterans can fill in forms for health, other benefits online

BY TONY LEE ORR | GCN STAFF

The Veterans Affairs Department has unveiled two Web applications that move it closer to its electronic-government goal of letting veterans apply for benefits online.

To apply for health care benefits, veterans'a growing number of whom have Internet access'can fill out and submit the Veterans Health Administration's 10-10EZ Form at https://www.1010ez.med.va.gov/sec/vha/1010ez. Before moving the form online in November, VA tested the application at 30 facilities.

Input, encode, sign here

After a user fills in the form, the app automatically encrypts the data and
e-mails it to the appropriate VA health facility. Employees check the data, print the form and mail it to the veteran for signature. Users can speed up the process by printing the form at home, signing it and mailing it to the center they have selected for services.

The second program is run by the Veterans Benefits Administration. The Veterans Online Application Web Site, known as VONAPP, lets users apply for VBA compensation, pension and vocational rehabilitation at vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp.

Once the information is transmitted to VA, it is transferred to a server behind the department's firewall, said Edward F. Meagher, the VA secretary's special assistant for information technology. Meagher is awaiting Senate confirmation to his appointment as VA's deputy assistant secretary for IT.

VBA hosts the Web site in Philadelphia on two quad-processor Compaq ProLiant 6000 servers, said Stephen D. Frans, a contract employee from Impact Innovations Group of Atlanta, which managed the site development for VA. The servers, which have four 400-MHz Pentium III Xeon processors each, run Microsoft SQL Server Version 7.0 under Microsoft Windows NT with Service Pack 6A.

Submitted electronic enrollment forms are initially stored outside the VA's firewall, Frans said. Regional VBA offices sign on periodically and use the VONAPP program to pull the information behind the firewall, he said.

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