WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs launched a groundbreaking national advertising campaign to encourage Veterans to sign up for the VA health care and benefits they’ve earned.
The $5+ million campaign, “What You Earned,” focuses on educating Veterans and their families about some of the most tangible, cost-saving benefits of using VA – including low-cost or no-cost health care, debt-free education, $0 down payments on home loans, no-cost memorial services and burials, and much more. The campaign uses actual cost comparisons to demonstrate Veterans’ savings with VA vs. without VA, with the goal of encouraging Veterans who are not enrolled in VA health care or receiving VA benefits to apply for the first time.
This first-of-its-kind campaign – which will run across television, print, radio, digital media, billboards, public transit, and social media – is the next phase of VA’s aggressive efforts to bring new Veterans to VA. While last year’s campaign resulted in record numbers of Veterans applying for VA benefits, many of our nation’s heroes are still not connected with VA. The new campaign aims to reach these Veterans by providing clear, compelling reasons for them to sign up for what they’ve earned.
“All too often, Veterans don’t know about the full scope of the health care and benefits they’ve earned through their service to our nation,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “The goal of this campaign is to change that. We want to show Veterans and their families – in the most tangible terms possible – how VA can help them afford to stay healthy, go to school, get a job, buy a home, and more.”
“Our goal is to bring as many Veterans as possible to VA, because study after study shows that Veterans who use VA do better,” said Deputy Secretary Tanya Bradsher. “But we need to give Veterans a clear and compelling reason to sign up, and that’s what this campaign is all about: showing Veterans that they can save thousands of dollars by using their earned VA health care, home loans, GI Bill benefits, memorial services, and more.”
This new advertising campaign is a part of the largest outreach effort in VA history, which VA launched after President Biden signed the PACT Act into law as a part of his Unity Agenda for the nation. Thus far, the effort has resulted in an all-time record number of Veteran benefits applications in 2023; a 25% increase in health care enrollments year-over-year; an 80% awareness among Veterans of the PACT Act; and more. Key aspects of the effort to date include:
- Media coverage: During fiscal year 2023, VA generated 395,000+ news articles and 137,000+ broadcast pieces – a 21% increase year-over-year – with the goal of informing Veterans about the care and benefits they’ve earned.
- Events: VA has hosted more than 2,500 PACT Act-related events for Veterans across all 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam.
- Advertising: VA has executed a MarCom award-winning PACT Act advertising campaign across streaming, print, radio, podcasts, signage, sports sponsorships, digital advertising, and more. The $10+ million campaign has led millions of visitors to VA.gov/PACT and generated $13 million in donated media through public service announcements.
- Direct Veteran outreach: VA has sent hundreds of millions of PACT Act-related emails and letters to Veterans to encourage them to apply. In September, VA also executed its first-ever text marketing campaign to encourage eligible Veterans to enroll in health care before the September 30 PACT Act deadline, resulting in a 179% increase in year-to-date health care enrollments for that specific cohort of Veterans.
- Collaborations: VA has worked with the White House, Congress, Veterans Service Organizations, influencers (Jon Stewart), sports teams (Tampa Bay Rays), and major corporations (CVS and USAA) to spread the word about the PACT Act.
- VA.gov/PACT: Within one hour of the Senate passage of the PACT Act, VA launched VA.gov/PACT – a one-stop-shop for Veterans and survivors to learn about and apply for PACT Act-related care and benefits. Since then, the website has garnered more than 22 million page views.
- Print, digital, and video resources: VA has developed a library of videos, flyers, and information – in more than 10 languages – to help Veterans understand what this new law means for them.
In addition to focusing on Veterans who are newly eligible for VA care and benefits under the PACT Act, the campaign is also designed to reach historically underserved Veterans – including women Veterans, Black Veterans, Hispanic Veterans, younger Veterans, and Veterans living in rural areas. The campaign will feature ads in both English and Spanish.
Moving forward, VA will continue to aggressively reach out to Veterans to encourage them to come to VA. VA encourages all Veterans, family members, caregivers, and survivors to learn more about VA and apply for their world-class health care and earned benefits today.
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