Says continuous feedback from Idahoans key to seeing results and improving VA services for veterans
BOISE-Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is launching his second statewide Veterans Survey today and is encouraging Idaho's veterans to participate as he makes stops throughout southern Idaho as a part of his continued town meeting tour. Last year, Crapo received feedback from more than 1,000 Idahoans about their experiences with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Crapo says this year he hopes to double that number in an effort to hear from more veterans.
"Throughout my travels across Idaho, I have heard loud and clear the frustration many veterans feel while trying to access the services they deserve," said Crapo. "I share that frustration and am committed to getting it right for veterans, which is why I am conducting a second Veterans Survey."
Crapo noted that this year's survey builds on the previous year's by incorporating feedback from Idaho's veterans community. The 2015 Veterans Survey asks more comprehensive questions about the VA benefits and services Idahoans use. "Improving the VA is a continuous process that requires constant communication with the VA and frequent feedback from veterans to ensure Idahoans are seeing results," Crapo added. "As we have seen, the solution to 'fixing' the VA is not necessarily based on broad, top-down reforms and increased federal dollars alone. Feedback from Idaho's veterans community is critical. This information helps me evaluate what is working and what is not working for the VA. Based on the information Idahoans share, I can approach the VA with specific, precise information about which programs and policies are failing and why they are failing. The survey helps me communicate with the VA about successful initiatives as well, and is an important tool to help me hear directly from Idahoans."< /p>
Since the last survey, Crapo has supported a number of measures aimed at improving the lives of Idaho's veterans. Such measures include a bill that would improve access to care under the Veterans Choice Program, particularly for specialty care and for veterans living in rural areas; a bill to address the effects of exposure to toxic substances on veterans and their families; and a measure to remove the unfair offset in survivor benefits and Dependency and Indemnity Compensations-all of these issues were raised in the survey or in subsequent communications with Idahoans.
Additionally, veterans or their loved ones in need of specific assistance in dealing with the VA or other federal agencies may contact Crapo's office for further assistance through the survey. Many of the 2014 survey participants requested assistance with VA issues, resulting in a 160 percent increase in veterans casework and Idaho's veterans receiving more than $723,000 in retroactive benefits. Crapo hopes to expand that reach with the 2015 Veterans Survey and make contact with even more of Idaho's veterans who are in need of assistance.
The 2015 Veterans Survey can be taken on Crapo's official website, https://www.crapo.senate.gov ,or by clicking here. Idahoans can also stop by one of the Senator's offices or call to have a staff member administer the survey: Washington, DC (202) 224-6142; Idaho State Office (Boise) 208-334-1776; South-Central Idaho (Twin Falls) (208) 734-2515; North Idaho (Coeur d'Alene) (208) 664-5490; Eastern Idaho, North (Idaho Falls) (208) 522-9779; North-Central Idaho (Lewiston) (208) 743-1492; Eastern Idaho, South (Pocatello) (208) 236-6775.