VA Debt Management Center reduces average wait times for veterans contacting call center

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Debt Management Center (DMC) reached a recent milestone this July when it reported it had lowered the average wait times for veterans contacting the call center, from over 21 minutes in fiscal year (FY) 2016 to under five minutes during FY 2018.
“The team at the DMC has enhanced services to our veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “It’s our mission to take care of our veterans, no matter what their needs are. DMC is in concert with our priority of improving customer service and will continue to gather customer feedback through direct feedback, surveys and outreach in FY19 to further enhance the veterans’ experience.”
For the past three years, DMC received around 1 million calls annually with an average call wait time of about 21 minutes. In FY 2017, DMC launched a series of internal efficiencies and process improvements to enhance contact center capabilities.
Initiatives included enhancing staffing levels to meet demand, enhancing contact center technology, focusing on employee development and engagement, and implementing an automated 12-month payment plan.
These veteran-focused initiatives represent a 79 percent reduction over two years to the average time for waiting and a 40 percent increase of actual calls taken. These are all indicators of successful initiatives providing a better experience for veterans and VA employees.
The DMC’s inbound contact center serves as the central point for veterans and their family members to make payment arrangements or receive guidance regarding the collection process on overpayments, which could include debts created from education or pension payments.
Debt counselors at the DMC work with callers in a professional and service-oriented manner to help them understand their options to address overpayments with veterans either through extended repayment plans, the dispute process, compromise process or waiver process
DMC’s contact center provides debt counseling for the Veterans Benefits Administration, and consolidated collection services of non-health care debt for Veterans Health Administration and National Cemetery Administration, enabling these entities to focus resources on accomplishing their core missions.
DMC has provided centralized debt collection programs of veteran benefit overpayments since 1975 and became a fee-for-service enterprise center in 1996.
Services available for local veterans
Pine Ridge Extended Care Center is VA-certified, which means there are services available for our local veterans. These services have eligibility requirements and specific programs. For more information, please contact this office or Pine Ridge.
For more information
The office of the Archuleta County veterans service officer (VSO) provides assistance to qualified military veterans, and their families, or a veteran’s survivors, in applying to and in obtaining VA program assistance, benefits and claims.
This assistance is provided within the guidelines, policies and procedures established by the Colorado Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. This is a mandated program of the state of Colorado.
For further information on VA benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office, located at the Pagosa Springs Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.
The best way to contact me is to set up an appointment, for either at your home or in the office, so I can schedule a specific time in order to answer and assist each veteran in Archuleta County.
The office number is 264-4013, fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-3590 and email is raytaylor@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Bring a DD Form 214 (discharge) for applications to VA programs or benefits for which the veteran may be entitled to enroll, and for filing in the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office.
Always leave me a message and phone number to contact you.

This story was posted on November 15, 2018.