Depending on when you left the military, you could have set up your Premium eBenefits account as you went through the Transition Assistance Program. For those that didn’t, it’s not a big concern. There is a way for you to upgrade to the Premium account if you haven’t done so.
Fortunately, upgrading your eBenefits account is easy to do when the VA’s system works, and you can use the remote-proofing process. Remote proofing is just the term the VA uses when you don’t show up in person with your ID to prove who you are. Instead, you do it over the telephone by answering some automated questions. If your answers match what the VA expects to hear, you have established your identity and can upgrade your eBenefits account.
There are 10 steps to go through to complete the proofing process, and it can take roughly 10 minutes to complete. This is, of course, dependent on if you have previously created an ebenefits account.
If you have already set up your account, you’ll need to go to www.ebenefits.va.gov and click on the login button. Once this redirects you to the login page, look under the username and password section to see four options, including an upgrade option. After you click on “Upgrade To Premium Account,” this will redirect you to another login page to start the upgrade process.
CAC or DFAS
After you log in, you’ll be asked if you have a Common Access Card (CAC), or if you are a veteran or spouse. This process is quick if you have a CAC because once you log in using it, the process is complete.
If you are retired, you can use your Defense Finance Accounting Services (DFAS) username and password to go through a process like the one with the CAC. Log in to your DFAS, and that should complete the process. If you didn’t retire or have a CAC, you could use the remote proofing process.
How To Do Remote Proofing
The VA uses this ‘remote-proofing’ process to verify your identity. You’ll have to provide your name, birth date, and/or your SSN, DOD ID, or Tax ID number. Then you’ll have three minutes to answer five security questions. These questions come from your past and will be things like:
- Did you or your family own a particular make and model of a vehicle?
- Did you previously live at a particular address?
- Are you related to a particular person listed?
Questions won’t be worded that way, but they will be automated inquiries of that nature. You may have used similar self-proofing methods with financial firms and other businesses.
If you can’t complete this “Remote Proofing” process, call the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Support Center at 1-800-827-1000, Option 7. They will suggest the best way to proceed with this requirement.
Other Ways to Prove Your Identity
When the VA’s system goes down, which it often does, there are other ways to verify your identity.
- Visit your nearest VA regional office with your ID or DD214. They will upgrade your account.
- You may use the VA telephone proofing process (see below).
- You may use an email verification process on DEERS, the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (see below).
- You can renew your ID at a rapid site and request a DS log on (see below).
- If you have an active DFAS account, you can use your DFAS account to remote-proof as well.
VA telephone proofing
According to the VA’s website, if you are receiving VA funds and you’re a veteran, you can participate in the VA telephone proofing process. This process requires you to call them and tell them the information below. If you do, they’ll take care of the upgrade for you.
- Your full name as the VA knows it
- Social security number
- Branch of service
- What your disability rating percentage is
- How much money you receive each month
Enrollment in DEERS is automatic for all Servicemembers and Veterans who have served since 1982. The government is adding those who served before 1982 into the system using information from VA/DoD records. If you are not yet enrolled in DEERS, the eBenefits system should tell you when you register.
If you have a DEERS account, you can request an account upgrade through them. They will give your email to the VA, and the VA will email you a code to use.
Renewing your ID card at a rapid site
When you go to renew your ID card at a rapid site or any place that you schedule your appointment, you can request a DS log on at that time. When you request a DS log on, they will put your name into their system. You’ll receive a code in the mail to use online. Put the code in and that code will make your account a premium access account.
The Benefits of Upgrading Your Account
With an upgraded eBenefits account you can:
- See your current VA disability ratings
- See your payment history to make sure nothing’s missing
- Add dependents
- See what’s left on your GI bill
- Apply for benefits online
Our mission at Strategic Veteran is to empower and educate Veterans. We know that not everything is black and white.
If you have questions and you want real answers from real Veterans who have been through the same, please reach out to us. Strategic Veteran is a free resource for all Veterans – gives us a call today at 800-761-9004.