Being a part of the military is an intense commitment that requires considerable sacrifice. This is the case not only for active service members, but also for their extended families.
Furthermore, this sacrifice extends after the active term is over, as many consequences of military employment can be observed years after the work is over.
These sacrifices entail physical health consequences, mental health consequences, financial loss, difficulty finding a job, and many others.
In this article, we give a brief overview of eBenefits, explaining what it is, how it works, and why it’s useful. Additionally, we end this article with a brief discussion of the future of online benefits.
How Do I Sign Up for eBenefits?
EBenefits offers people either a basic or premium membership, both of which are free.
The basic membership is for people who cannot verify their identity online. This kind of membership still allows you to customize the site and enter information. The premium membership, on the other hand, offers people unlimited access to the online portal, and includes the most benefits.
In order to select one of these memberships, you just visit the application page and answer the questions that are provided.
What Features Does eBenefits Offer?
The features offered by the eBenefits program varies depending on whether you are an active service member, a veteran, or a family member of these people. A specific list of every benefit can be found on the eBenefits Factsheet.
Generally speaking, eBenefits focuses on compensation, education, health care, housing, insurance, and pensions.
It can be difficult for military families to thrive after a period of service, as active duty can result in all kinds of mental and physical injuries. Consequently, eBenefits helps people who are suffering in one of these areas by offering them advice, loans, grants, and insurance plans that people who never served in the military do not have access to.
For example, eBenefits can help further your education skills by paying for some of your tuition and housing. Additionally, eBenefits even helps with resume building and on-the-job training.
In order to receive these kinds of education benefits, you have to provide information about you and your situation. If you are accepted for one of the program’s benefits, you will have the option of receiving your benefits through the eBenefits portal, which is what makes it so convenient.
Many veterans even choose to set up direct deposit so they can receive money instantly into their bank account.
Another example of a fantastic service provided by eBenefits is their housing service. In particular, eBenefits will help veterans and their spouses become homeowners. Many veterans struggle with this element of re-entering life, especially when it comes to getting a low interest rate or refinancing their current home.
What are the Benefits of eBenefits?
The main benefit of the eBenefits online portal is that it consolidates information so that many people can access it.
This is advantageous when navigating post-service life, which can be replete with paperwork, forms, numbers, and various information that can be difficult to remember. After serving in the military, many people feel disconnected from modern life, which only makes it harder to reintegrate into society. EBenefits makes this reintegration process easier by simplifying it.
Furthermore, eBenefits distinguishes the various kinds of benefits on its website, making a specialized section for each benefit. This is helpful in preventing veterans and their families from getting overwhelmed. This stress would be likely if every feature of eBenefits were listed on a single page. Instead, eBenefits devotes a page to each benefit, explaining the service in depth and how people can access it.
Additionally, eBenefits is highly lauded for applying not only to active service members and veterans but also the families of these people. This demographic is often ignored, yet military service can impact family members just as much as the service member. In this sense, family members are in need of compensation and benefits as well.
Also, because eBenefits is online, it can be accessed anywhere in the world where there is a secure internet connection. This makes it extremely accessible and convenient, especially for veterans who are traveling. The online portal also makes accessing the benefits more streamlined than reading or filling out paperwork.
Links to Other Sites on eBenefits
Another great benefit of the eBenefits online portal is that it provides links to other useful websites that veterans and their family members might use. These sites extend the services offered to veterans and their family members, but are often outside the jurisdiction of DoD and VA.
In this sense, these websites are not as secure when it comes to privacy. People using these additional websites should be more cautious when entering their personal information than when using government websites.
DoD and VA take this privacy and security very seriously, especially considering past data breaches and their consequences. In fact, they have an entire webpage devoted to explaining their policies and how they seek to protect the identities of their members.
Drawbacks of the eBenefits Portal
The main drawback of the eBenefits portal is that the interface is slightly confusing and overwhelming. When you first arrive at the homepage, you are bombarded with tons of links and words, which can be confusing at first.
This might be difficult for older veterans to navigate, especially if they have some mental or physical injury.
Additionally, even though some people claim that distinguishing each benefit that is provided is simpler, some people have commented that these distinctions are actually overwhelming. Specifically, if you scroll to the bottom of the homepage, you will find various tabs that link users to the corresponding benefits. Thus, in order to learn about these benefits, the user must navigate a different page for each one.
Essentially, there doesn’t seem to be a single page where interested members can read a brief, summarized version of all the benefits they could receive.
The Future of the eBenefits Portal
We think the eBenefits portal is in its infancy, as it was only created 10 years ago. As technology continues to advance, we expect the eBenefits portal to evolve as well, becoming more simple, streamlined, and easy to navigate.
We can imagine a future where no forms need to be filled out online. Instead, members will simply scan their fingerprint, which will offer access to all the information that is needed. This will help mitigate many of the frustrating encounters that members currently have when entering their information. As with any site that consolidates lots of data, the inevitable system crash and glitch can occur.
Future online portals will collect data in fundamentally different ways in order to avoid potential loss. We think fingerprint scanners are one way this can be achieved, while webcams are another way to simplify the process.
Furthermore, we think the eBenefits portal will become more social in the future, functioning more as an online community. This would allow members to not only receive benefits but also interact with people going through similar struggles. While an online database already exists for this purpose, it’s not as effective as using a social media platform. We see the eBenefits portal moving in this direction in the future.
Our Final Thoughts on the eBenefits Portal
We think eBenefits is a fantastic service offered by DoD and VA, even if the online portal is slightly antiquated and ineffective.
Ultimately, given how much danger military members and their families are exposed to, we think the eBenefits service is necessary for our society, and that similar services should be offered to anyone with a dangerous career.
Even though many benefits exist for the families of military members, we think this area of eBenefits could still be expanded further. Specifically, we can imagine a future where the mental anguish of family members is properly valorized, resulting in copious benefits relating to mental health most particularly.
Mental health is often neglected when it comes to benefits, both for active members and family members. Even though many services exist to address mental health, we don’t think these services are extensive enough. We see the future of military mental health care as more experimental and cutting-edge, utilizing new drugs, techniques, and technologies to promote health and balance.
Currently, military mental health care is more conservative and avoids any approach that seems too novel or pioneering.
Regardless, we think eBenefits are a great step in the right direction. If we want to attract the most fearless citizens into active service, then we need to establish a platform for compensating these members when they are finished. EBenefits certainly achieves this, though there is still some room for improvement.