Friday, September 05, 2014

VA Lies and Helpful Agents

This morning I called the VA 800-827-1000 number to check on the status of client clalims.  Since this is the same number individual veterans call for that same purpose, the menu options don't work for me as an accredited advocate so I always kept punching zero until the system finally handed me over to a live person.  Today I tried the "if you are calling from a rotary phone, please hold" option.  After a short period of silence the the touch tone phone menu came up.

Bait and switch, if I ever saw one.

The upshot of the call was that I punched zero until I got an announcement that all representatives were busy and that I should visit the e-benefits page or call to schedule a call back time.  Used to be that they would put callers in a cue for a call back in the order in which we called--usually within the hour.  No more.  Scheduling a call back sound good like a good option.  The one time I tried that the system scheduled the call back almost a week later on a work day when I could not take the call.

Trying the 800 number came after calling a separate information number available for veterans service officers and advocates.  The wait time on that line was 20 minutes.  The hold "music" is pretty godawful--series of notes repeated over and over.  I thought the other line would allow me to wait out the hold without hearing the music.

When that turned out to be a dead end I called the advocates' number again and got a representative with no wait.  We spent almost an hour reviewing the status of five veterans.  He was very helpful and provided information on five veterans.

And I didn't have to listen to that godawful hold music.



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