07.06.2011 Story by Tech. Sgt. Johnathon Orrell ARLINGTON , Va. – The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have created a one-stop website for Guard members to access and administer their service benefits-related information in a secure manner, said the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
In a November 2010 memorandum to all the branches, Clifford L. Stanley announced that a new VA eBenefits web portal had been created as a solution for benefit-related information availability to current and former service members, to include all Guard members.
“The DS [DOD Self-Service Logon] is a secure, self-service logon ID that allows beneficiaries affiliated with the DoD or the VA access to several websites using a single username and password,” Stanley said.
Developed by the 2007 President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors, eBenefits will allow Guard members to apply and track the status of their VA claims and access a catalog of direct links to assist them with needs ranging from education benefits to life insurance.
“DS Logon will allow all service members and veterans secure access through the eBenefits web portal to benefits information specifically tailored to their needs, for the lifetime of their affiliation with the DoD or VA,” he said.
All service members in possession of a common access card should be directed to obtain a eBenefits logon, Stanley said.
On June 11, the DoD and VA Joint Executive Council approved the plan, directing service members to obtain a DS Logon when either first enlisting or re-entering the service and directed all current service members to obtain a log-on by November 2013.
“National Guardsmen can sign up one of four ways,” said Vernell Hill, the National Guard Bureau Interactive Personnel Electronic Records Management System senior access control manager.
Guard members can access for sign-up with their common access card, through myPay, a defense enrollment eligibility reporting system real-time automated personnel identification system terminal or go directly to the closest VA center for face-to-face assistance, he said.
Hill recommends that Guard members who are still part of the uniformed service use their common access cards to enter the system since it is easier.
“CAC registration is especially critical for our wounded warriors, since it may be more difficult to travel to a RAPIDS or VA site,” he said.
Current Guard members enrolling on the eBenefits site must ensure they sign up for level 2 credentialing, Hill said.
All-in-all, Hill feels this program is an extremely useful tool that Guard members should use to ensure all of their information is correct and up-to-date.
“It’s a tool for personal information organization,” he said. “The sooner you get in and get up to date, the easier it is for everything to fall into line, especially in the event something unforeseen happens and your family needs information.”