Alaska vets get online home

Alaska's 68,000 veterans seeking assistance regarding benefits and programs can now turn to a new state government Web site for quick and easy access to information and links.

The state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) launched the new site Aug. 9 so there would be a central place where veterans could find assistance easily, said Laddie Shaw, director of the Office of Veterans Affairs, which maintains the site.

Most benefits and programs aren't provided by the DMVA, he said, but through other state agencies and the federal government. Ninety percent of calls to his office relate to the federal government, he said.

Instead of having veterans surf through the state government site to find programs — such as mortgages and interest rate preferences through the state Housing Finance Corp. or job referrals and training through state Department of Labor and Workforce Development — the site (www.ak-prepared.com/vetaffairs) provides the direct links.

The site, which took a year to develop, also includes frequently asked questions, pertinent news, phone numbers and links to federal agencies and nonprofit and advocacy groups. Shaw said the office can update the site on the fly and plans to continually check links and phone numbers to make sure they're current.

Although the site has been up for a short time, Shaw said that he's informed several people about it and even helped a handful of users navigate through the new site. He estimated that nine out of the 10 people he deals with at the Office of Veterans Affairs have access to the Internet.

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