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Hot Springs Community Based Outpatient Clinics will introduce a convenient new telebenefits service Thursday, allowing veterans to video chat with their Veteran Affairs representative from the comfort of their own community.

Supervising Veterans Service Representative Jay Mergenschroer said the new service prevents veterans from wasting time and gas traveling to the regional office in Little Rock to speak to a VA representative and adds a personal aspect to the relationship between the veteran and the representative.

Unlike with the previously used toll-free number veterans used to communicate with any available representative, the new service allows the veteran to speak with the same representative nearly every time, building a first-name basis relationship between the two parties, Mergenschroer said.

The toll-free number will still be available to call, but the distinctive difference between calling and video chatting is the veterans can't file a claim over the phone.

Additionally, if the veteran works with a Veterans Services Organization to manage their claims, this service makes for an easier way for the veteran and their VSO to meet with the representative together.

The video chat being held at the clinic rather than at the veteran's home, Mergenschroer said, allows collaboration between the VA and the clinic staff, and it guarantees a secure video connection.

Mergenschroer said the service has become so popular and helpful that multiple CBOCs have added additional days and time slots for veterans to "meet" with their representative.

"Vets throughout the state have fallen in love with this, which is why we are expanding," he said.

The Jonesboro CBOC will also be introducing the service Thursday, making for 11 CBOCs offering it statewide. In a couple of weeks, the Helena CBOC will be the next to introduce it.

The service will be provided to veterans and their family members at the clinic every Thursday from 2-4 p.m. Sessions are up to 30 minutes.

Veterans can call their CBOC to schedule a session, but walk-ins on eligible days are also welcome.

For more information on the new telebenefits service, call Mergenschroer at 501-370-3771 or the Hot Springs CBOC at 501-520-6250.

Local on 04/14/2019

Print Headline: CBOCs to provide telebenefits for vets

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