Idahoâ??s veteran community shares stories, offers solutions
Washington, D.C.-Idaho Senator Mike Crapo today released the results of his Fall 2014 Veterans Survey-an endeavor undertaken to gather information about Idahoans' experiences with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More than 1,000 Idahoans from the veterans community provided feedback and participated in the survey.
Following the Senate's passage of bipartisan VA reform legislation this summer, Crapo met with hundreds of veterans and veterans' advocacy groups throughout the state, asking Idahoans to share their unique perspectives on the VA.
The survey results will be used to guide Crapo's efforts on behalf of Idaho's veterans in the U.S. Senate and will be shared with officials in Washington, D.C., and with the VA to help push meaningful policy changes.
"Veterans have given so much of themselves, and we must ensure that the nation supports these extraordinary individuals for putting their lives on the line to safeguard our freedoms," said Crapo. "I am more than appreciative of our veterans' willingness to share their stories, both the good and the bad, and will continue communication with VA leaders to ensure they understand the experiences of Idaho's veterans and act appropriately to meet their needs."
Overall, approximately 51 percent of participants rated their experiences with the VA as "satisfying" or better, while around 30 percent of participants rated their experiences "dissatisfying" or worse. Participants were asked to share the basis for their satisfaction rating. They could select any of the following as a basis for their overall experience satisfaction:
· Quality of VA health care;
· Transportation to VA related appointments;
· Wait times for appointments with the VA;
· Benefits and Claims processing;
· Appeals processing;
· Educational benefits;
· Other (please specify).
Crapo's survey provided the opportunity for participants to seek assistance from the Senator in matters involving the VA or other federal agencies. Crapo's outreach efforts generated significant growth in veteran-related constituent service with a 519 percent increase in the total number of veterans requesting aid. "One of the greatest aspects of my role as a U.S. Senator is the ability to act as an advocate and assist Idahoans to remedy potential issues they may be having with a federal agency. I encourage all Idahoans to share their experiences with federal agencies, and to contact any one of my offices for assistance when they need it," Crapo concluded.