WASHINGTON — Sen. Claire McCaskill wants to know whether vets.gov, a federal website designed to give information about their benefits, is being undermined by veterans.gov, a wholly separate federal website designed to give information about their benefits.
She’s hoping President Donald Trump’s administration, which has repeatedly pledged to cut back on government waste and redundancy, can step in and simplify the problem.
“I have no doubt the intention behind the decision to do this was good, but the practical effect is confusing and needs to be fixed,” the Missouri Democrat said in a statement Wednesday.
“Men and women who’ve served our country in uniform have earned the benefits laid out on these sites. It’s unnecessary to make accessing them more complicated than it already is.”
Vets.gov, which is run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, was launched in 2015 in an effort to give veterans a single internet entry point for a host of benefits and department information. Visitors can apply for VA health services, education stipends and ID cards through the site.
Veterans.gov, which is run by the Department of Labor, focuses on employment opportunities and business start-up benefits for veterans.
In a letter to the two department’s acting leadership, McCaskill asked why the two separate sites don’t coordinate and whether they share her concerns that the arrangement contributes to confusion among veterans. The sites are operated independently and do not feature links to each other.
The Department of Labor’s oversight on a host of veterans programs has been a source of conflict in recent years, with questions of whether those offerings would be more efficiently handled within VA.
McCaskill’s website complaint is the latest round in that discussion. She has asked for an official response from the administration by mid-May on whether there are any plans to connect the sites or eliminate one of them.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.