Do you know the difference between the websites Vets.gov and Veterans.gov?
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is concerned that many veterans seeking assistance do not. In a letter she sent last week to the agencies responsible for the sites, she said she is looking to better understand the collaborative efforts between the two sites and wants to make sure veterans are not confused by them.
Vets.gov is a website run by the Department of Veterans Affairs that is meant to be a comprehensive portal for veterans to access services such as healthcare, education, and employment benefits. Veterans.gov on the other hand is run by the Department of Labor and focuses just on employment benefits and business support.
“I have no doubt the intention behind the decision to do this was good, but the practical effect is confusing and needs to be fixed,” McCaskill said. “Men and women who’ve served our country in uniform have earned the benefits laid out on these sites; it’s unnecessary to make accessing them more complicated than it already is.”
Her letter said that she understands that the two sites do not currently share information and wants to make sure they are not duplicating efforts.
Another Case Where Information Sharing Creates Problems
It is not unusual for federal agencies to fail to share important information and have problems arise as a result. One prime example of this problem has been brought to light by the introduction of legislation to stop payments from being made to dead federal retirees.
The Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act (H.R. 4929) has been introduced more than once in the past to stop hundreds of billions of dollars in improper payments that are made to deceased federal retirees. Part of the cause of the problem is that federal agencies do not share the Death Master File, the most complete information on who has died, maintained by the Social Security Administration.
Besides allowing all federal agencies to have access to the complete death database, the bill would also require the Office of Management and Budget to issue guidance to agencies on the use of death data to curb improper payments and establish procedures to ensure more accurate death data.