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2 Million Downloads: VA Health and Benefits Mobile App

As the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) leverages technology to meaningfully improve the lives of Veterans, their families, and care providers, the VA Health and Benefits mobile app is completely modernizing how Veterans access and manage their health care and benefits information.

While Veterans praise the app as convenient and accessible, the digital experience at the VA has not always been so. A discovery sprint in 2020 underscored the demand for convenient, on-demand access to Veteran health and benefits information, and that sprint laid the groundwork for the development of the VA Health and Benefits mobile app.

When the app was first introduced, it served as a digital gateway to Veterans’ health records, appointments, and prescription refill requests. This immediate access to vital health information resonated strongly with Veterans, particularly those living in remote or rural areas, where reaching VA facilities may be challenging. The app quickly became a lifeline for many. As the app’s popularity and use continue to grow, the Office of Information and Technology works with its users to incorporate new features.

Putting Veterans at the center of development

Feedback sessions involving extensive collaboration with Veterans related to their challenges with VA digital services took place during the app’s inception and continues to be a driving force in the app’s development. These sessions originally revealed frustrations with login complexities, prompting the app’s integration of biometric options like fingerprint and facial recognition to streamline access. They also led to crucial accessibility features in the app for the 22 percent of users who leverage assistive technology – features such as the ability for blind Veterans to access and read their decision letters through the app.

With almost a million monthly active users who send over three hundred thousand secure messages and refill over a quarter of a million prescriptions – each month – the app’s strong adoption and Veteran-centered design have helped earn it a rating of 4.8 on the Apple Store and 4.6 on Google Play, on par with companies like USAA and Uber.

Features and tools Veterans want

Recently, we incorporated Proof of Veteran Status (YouTube video) into the app, streamlining access to benefits without revealing unnecessary personal and financial details. This feature automatically generates when a Veteran logs into the app, making the process of proving status to retailers quick, easy, and more private. The app also features:

  • Quick and direct access to the VA Crisis Line for Veterans and their families
  • Management of Health Care Appointments
  • View Status of Claims and Appeals
  • Refill and Track VA Prescriptions
  • Secure Message with Your VA Health Care Team
  • Download Common VA Letters and Documents
  • View VA Vaccine Records
  • Locate VA Facilities
  • Access Using Biometric Login

Upcoming 2024 features include health care appointment scheduling and check-ins, travel claim submissions, and more, and insights gleaned during the app’s development are being shared with groups working on, extending benefits beyond smartphone and tablet app users.