The VA’s Women Veterans Call Center recently added a new online, one-to-one Chat Function to its website. The new service enables women veterans to go online and anonymously chat via real-time text messaging with a trained representative.
The new feature provides women veterans with another avenue to ask general questions about benefits, eligibility and services specifically for women veterans. The chat application is available by visiting the Women Veterans Health Care webpage at www.womenshealth.va.gov and clicking the “Chat with the Women Veterans Call Center” icon. Currently the chat function is only available for general questions, not individual specific inquiries. For specific questions about benefits, the VA requests that women veterans still use the telephone help line at 855-VA-WOMEN (855-829-6636) to be connected with a Women Veterans Call Center representative. Hours of operation for both the chat and phone center are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET and Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
All the representatives at the Women Veterans Call Center are women, many of whom are veterans themselves. The new feature provides women veterans with another avenue to ask general questions about benefits,eligibility and services specifically for women veterans.
The Women Veterans Call Center not only assists woman veterans by receiving telephone and chat inquiries, they also contact women veterans and inform them VA benefit eligibility. VA has found that women Veterans underutilize VA care, largely due to a lack of knowledge about VA benefits and available services and their eligibility for them. Since April 2013, the Women Veterans Call Center has reached out to over 287,000 women Veterans and has received calls from over 33,000 women Veterans. They receive, on average, 80 calls per day and make on average, 1,000 calls per day.
What will happen when I receive a call?
- A trained staffmember will identify themselves as working for the VA and ask if it is a good time to talk.
- She will then ask if you are aware of your eligibility for benefits.
- Women veterans will be provided with information regarding health care services, VA benefits and services available, and a package of information will be sent to their home
- Contact information will be requested so staff may follow-up.
The Call Center makes direct referrals to Women Veteran Program Managers located at every VA medical center. The Women Veteran Program Manager helps the woman Veteran coordinate services. Any women veteran can use the Women Veterans Call Center, even if they are not registered with the VA or enrolled in VA health care.