I workfor the Education Division of the VA – on my floor alone the output of letters to our nations veterans is staggering. From Certificates of Eligibility, Award letters, reduction letter, development letters … the list goes on and on.
I propose that the VA follow the route of American Education Services (AES), Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), banks, or car insurance and credit card companies and offer our clients the ability to go “paperless”. Rather then mail all these letters, we could instead utilize clients email – the end result drastically saving the VA money and time. Beyond the obvious monitary savings, we also increase the functionality of the VA as a whole (It eases the burden on the mailroom, meaning that letters that are being released via paper are being released at a faster rate due to a lesser volume. It’s ideal for development letters because veterans can get them immediately which speeds up how fast they can respond to the VA which helps the veteran get access to his education benefits more quickly and helps break the backlog of education claims as VCEs receive needed documentation at an accelerated rate).
This process would NOT be mandatory (it would only enacted at the clients request); but especially considering the number of younger veterans (the majority of which are more comfortable using internet and email then mail or fax) .
Furthermore this process would be easy to implement (Add a check box on the V1990 form that offers the option to go paperless for new clients – and include a basic enclosure for about a six month period to alert old patrons of the option). This option could also become a standard for veterans power of attorneys or service organizations (which would be easier for them to file if they desire too and would save the VA from having to print/release identical letters to multiple sources).
A paperless option is available in almost all corporations and is a fantastic means of saving the VA both money and time.