A new VA rule that requires veterans to access the internet for medical appointments, as well as to use VA-owned computers to work on those appointments, is being phased in in a bid to combat the rise of the so-called “internet phobia” among vets.
The rule, published on Monday, states that vets must have an internet connection for all appointments and that veterans can’t access the website or use their computer to log on to it unless they have a VA-issued computer with internet access.
The VA also said vets can’t use VA computers or work on their appointments if they are at home or using a wireless connection.
The new rule is part of the VA’s “One VA” initiative, which aims to improve the access of veterans to the VA.
It comes just weeks after President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at ensuring that vets can access internet and other benefits.
Veterans have long complained that veterans’ access to information has become increasingly limited and that their benefits have been delayed or not fully paid for.
They also say they are being punished for not using VA-approved internet applications or accessing the web.
The Trump administration, which is seeking to slash the VA budget, has also been rolling back federal benefits and restrictions on veterans’ activities that had been put in place under President Barack Obama.
The White House said in February that the VA has been “in the crosshairs of the internet phobia.”
The new VA guidance states that a veteran can use a VA computer if the veteran has internet access but cannot log on.
VA-employed computers can be used only for appointments or when needed to complete those appointments.
The guidance also states that if the computer is used by a veteran to log onto a VA website or to access certain applications, the computer can be considered an internet-only device, which means it is limited to accessing the VA website.
VA officials said they have not yet received any reports of veterans using the internet to log in to VA websites.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) has lobbied for the rule to ensure that vets have the ability to access VA-sponsored computers and to work remotely.
The group said it was encouraged by the rule, saying that vets “are going to have to do a lot more than just take off their glasses to use the internet.”
The VA said the rule was meant to help combat the internet “phobia” and “discourage veterans from trying to log into VA computers, even if they can.”
VA spokesman Kevin Brown said the VA is working with veterans to “improve their access to government services.”
The Veterans Administration has struggled with internet phobias in the past, and veterans have complained that VA computer systems have been slow or unable to handle their requests.
The latest VA rule is the first one to take effect under the new administration.
It does not require vets to use a computer, though it does require them to ensure they have internet access at home.
VA spokesman Joe Wooten said that VA officials are also working with vets to make sure they have the proper security systems in place for accessing their own VA computer and for the VA computers that are being used to log off to their personal computer.
“We know that vets are using VA computers for a variety of things, but we need to make certain that vets don’t fall victim to this,” Wootens said.
“If they’re using VA systems for something else, like accessing a bank account, they’ll need to ensure those systems are secured.”
The agency is not yet releasing data on the number of veterans who use computers or who log on using their personal computers.
But the VA said it is expecting to see a decline in veterans using their computers and in the number logging on using the VA-managed computers.
The rules also require vets who have a disability to use their own computer to do work related to their disability.
Brown said VA officials will also work with vets and other interested parties to work out the details of the new rule, including how the VA will manage VA-funded online applications for veterans.
The agency said it hopes the rule will make it easier for vets to access benefits.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.