Got a question about your VA benefits, health care, eligibility? You might want to check VA’s website, where you can access a new interactive chatbot to ask questions—24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Veterans, caregivers and families can still browse the website or search it for information, but in addition you can now ask specific questions to the chatbot. The recently launched feature is one way VA is working to offer seamless and secure access to VA’s online resources.
VA’s Veterans Experience Office and the Office of Information and Technology teamed up to design the chatbot so users can easily obtain answers to some of the most common questions, resulting in a timely, on-demand service.
“Our new artificial intelligence chatbot is one step toward reimagining the customer support experience at VA,” said Charles Worthington, VA’s Chief Technology Officer. “Today, the bot can help Veterans get immediate answers to many common questions. With more improvements underway, we build toward a future where AI can provide round-the-clock support without long wait times, allowing our human call center agents to help individuals with more complex concerns.”
Using data from existing content available on VA.gov, including health care, disability, education and training, burials and memorials, and other categories of essential information, the new chatbot cuts down on time for Veterans seeking assistance by minimizing travel to an office or waiting for a live agent by phone.
More than 36,000 people have asked the bot at least one question and have spent approximately three minutes with it. On average, about 55 percent of people who see the bot decide to try it. User questions to the bot have mostly related to the following topics:
- General benefit eligibility
- Health care
In coming months, the chatbot’s artificial intelligence functionality will continue to expand, and the feature will provide VA more insights to improve Veterans’ access to information about the benefits and services they have earned.
Veterans and their family members can access the new interactive chatbot through VA.gov’s ‘Contact Us Page’ and then clicking the ‘Start Chat’ button.