Feb 2, 2011 10:36 AM by Bea Karnes
The Veterans Administration is testing a program in Colorado that links rural vets with a benefits counselor via video conferencing in Craig, Glenwood Springs, Montrose and Grand Junction. The program went online yesterday. If successful, it could spread to southeastern Colorado and the rest of the nation.
Sen. Mark Udall, who announced the program, said, "I am pleased to see a state-of-the-art solution to an access issue facing many veterans in rural regions of Colorado. This collaboration between my office, the VA and the community demonstrates that, when we work together, the resulting innovative solutions can also be commonsense ones. I believe this program has the potential to make a huge impact on the way we deliver services to our veterans, and I plan to encourage VA Secretary Shinseki to use this program as a model to help veterans across the country."
According to the senator's office, veterans with questions regarding benefits such as pensions, disability claims, home loans and education programs can communicate with counselors over a secure video line, cutting down significantly on their commute time and costs, as well as the staff requirements for VA facilities.