12 Ways eBenefits Can Help You Access VA BenefitsUpdated May 24, 2021 Veterans Benefits
As a veteran or service member, you may have heard about eBenefits and wondered how it might help you. eBenefits is one of many services offered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that helps veterans and service members access resources and benefits. The comprehensive website includes support for multiple VA benefits.
12 Ways eBenefits Helps Veterans
- Upload Documents
- Get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
- File a Disability Claim
- Check Enrollment Status of Post-9/11 GI Bill
- Apply for Pension Benefits
- Manage VA Home Loans
- Add and Update Payment Information
- View Insurance Benefits
- Order Prescriptions
- Apply for and Manage Education Benefits
- Access Your Medical Information
- Check and Manage Family Member Benefits
What is eBenefits? This online web portal is a place for people who are or have been in the United States military service. Those using the portal and signing up for an account must meet eligibility requirements as a veteran, active duty servicemember, surviving spouse, eligible dependent, or authorized caregiver.
eBenefits has made it a simpler process for members of the military service to access their benefits and relevant information, send secure messages to medical providers, upload important documents, and manage their benefits, such as disability compensation or VA loan benefits.
What Is eBenefits?
eBenefits is an online web portal with resources and services for a veteran, surviving spouse, or service member of the armed forces. The portal exists as a one-stop shop for people to access their VA claim status, eligible benefits, personal information, and anything else having to do with a VA benefit for which they applied or have.
eBenefits is operated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. Its primary goal is to make it easier for veterans, service members, and their families, like a spouse or eligible dependents, to self-serve by updating their information, applying for a benefit, reviewing an award letter, and learning more about their benefits.
Through eBenefits, you can access your VA disability benefits, VA education benefits, VA loan information, direct deposit information, health care benefits, and more. Any veteran, active duty service member, authorized caregivers, or eligible dependents must sign up for an eBenefits account before using the system. eBenefits offers Basic and Premium accounts, both of which are free.
While searching, "What is eBenefits?" you might find information about the site closing. Now, VA.gov — the VA's primary website — will host the resources and information that was formerly through eBenefits. Rather than use two separate sites, the VA combined the benefits of both, allowing veterans and service members to find everything they need to access and manage their veteran benefits and personal information in one spot. However, you may continue to use the eBenefits website through March 31, 2022.
12 Ways eBenefits Helps Veterans
The eBenefits portal includes links to health information, home loan applications, disability benefits, education benefits, and other services offered to veterans and service members. You can also use the portal for uploading documents, communicating with others, and reviewing information and claims.
The following list includes common ways veterans, specifically, can use the eBenefits portal.
1. Upload Documents
When a veteran files a claim for VA disability and other benefits, the VA requires ample paperwork to provide evidence for the claim, like medical evidence of a service-connected disability. The eBenefits platform modernizes the process of transferring required paperwork to the VA to process a claim.
Veterans may use the portal to upload documents needed for further evidence or to provide extra documentation to support a claim. Once signed in, you can view the status of your claim and review any documents the VA still requires. Then, upload them to the portal for digital access by the VA.
2. Get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is used when you apply for a VA home loan. The document proves that you're an eligible veteran, as determined by the VA. Traditionally, this document needed to be mailed to you or obtained through your VA regional office. To get a COE from eBenefits, you'll need a copy of your discharge papers, which you can upload through the eBenefits web portal.
Once you do so, the VA will work to get you a COE. You can access and print your COE from eBenefits after signing in to your account. You can also use your digital copy of your COE to apply for a VA loan through the portal.
3. File a Disability Claim
Rather than sending paperwork for a disability compensation claim the old-fashioned way, you can complete it electronically through eBenefits. You can also upload the required documentation to support your claim through your eBenefits dashboard.
The exception to this is if you're filing another application for a claim on an issue that's already been denied by the VA. In this case, the VA will not process electronic disability claims via eBenefits. Instead, you can send a formal request to your regional VA office asking them to reopen your claim.
4. Check Enrollment Status of Post-9/11 GI Bill
The Post-9/11 GI Bill assists veterans with education and training costs, including tuition, books, housing, and moving expenses. These benefits may end 15 years after your date of separation from the service if your service ended before January 1, 2013.
eBenefits lets you check on your current benefits status, including when your benefits expire, if applicable, and how much of your benefits you still have left. You'll find this information in your GI Bill Statement of Benefits.
5. Apply for Pension Benefits
A VA pension gives a military retiree supplemental income if they're low-income or meet other eligibility criteria. Veterans may use the eBenefits portal to both apply for and manage their pension benefits.
If you need help applying for pension benefits through eBenefits, you may appoint an eligible representative to do it for you. Through the portal, you can also release required medical documents, make VA appointments, and manage your direct deposit information to support your pension benefits.
6. Manage VA Home Loans
Veterans who plan to purchase a home can do so with assistance from the VA in the form of a VA loan. VA loan benefits include lower-than-average rates, lower closing costs, and an easier process for applying and finalizing the loan.
Use eBenefits to get a COE to start the home loan process, check the status of your claim, upload supporting documents, and manage your VA home loan.
7. Add and Update Payment Information
Since many service benefits from the VA come in the form of direct deposit, eBenefits makes it easy to change this information through its portal. Log into your account to update your direct deposit information to ensure that it's always up-to-date to get your benefits.
Traditionally, veterans had to submit this information through a VA regional office, which could take more time to process than doing it through eBenefits.
8. View Insurance Benefits
Veterans may qualify for Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI), which offers life insurance benefits of up to $400,000. Veterans must have had Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) prior to leaving the service to be eligible for VGLI. Enroll for VGLI in eBenefits, and use the platform to check the status of your application and view and manage your benefits.
You can also use eBenefits to manage your health care benefits. Message VA medical providers, view and update your medical information, and track your out-of-pocket expenses.
9. Order Prescriptions
Not only can you view your prescription benefits through the VA with eBenefits, but you can also use the portal to order prescription medications. If you run low on refills, use eBenefits to contact the prescribing physician to request a refill. eBenefits works with My HealtheVet to help you view your prescriptions and request that your refills be sent to your home.
10. Apply for and Manage Education Benefits
Apply for and manage VA education benefits, like the GI Bill and Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) benefits, through the eBenefits portal. The GI Bill offers financial assistance for educational training, while VR&E helps veterans get training and career counseling to assist them with getting back into the workforce.
Once you apply, you can view your application status and manage your benefits through your Basic or Premium eBenefits account.
11. Access Your Medical Information
eBenefits offers several perks for managing your healthcare. Members can take a weight management questionnaire to view medical advice for losing weight, browse their medical records, share their medical records with other physicians and specialists, and check on health care appeals. Veterans can also register for the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, order hearing aid batteries, and make appointments with VA physicians.
12. Check and Manage Family Member Benefits
If you're a family member of a veteran and receiving VA benefits, such as education, TRICARE, or pension benefits, you may also use the eBenefits portal. Family members can include a dependent parent, spouse, or children. A family member must also register and be approved for an eBenefits Basic or Premium account to apply for, access, or manage any VA benefits.
What’s the Difference Between a Basic and Premium Account?
eBenefits offers a Basic and a Premium account to servicemembers and veterans. Both are free, so you can choose the one that makes the most sense for you.
A Basic eBenefits account gives limited access, allowing you to access certain features of the site and apply for and manage some VA benefits. To sign up for a Basic account, you must be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and have a DoD Self-Service Logon (DS Logon).
A Premium eBenefits account has the same requirements as a Basic account, but you need to enroll for a Basic account first. Then, you can complete an identity verification process to upgrade your account to Premium. With your Premium account, you can gain access to your personal information stored within the VA and DoD systems, and you'll be able to manage and apply for more VA benefits.
What Is eBenefits and How Can It Help?
eBenefits is an invaluable resource for servicemembers and veterans who want to apply for or are currently receiving VA benefits. Through its portal, you can view and manage benefits entirely online, making for a more convenient and time-saving paperwork process. Although eBenefits will no longer be available after March 2022, you may still use or sign up for the same perks through the VA's website. VA.gov will switch all current members over to the system automatically to avoid service disruption.
To get started with eBenefits, you can head to the website to register an account. If you have any trouble registering a Basic or Premium account, contact your VA regional office for assistance.