Document Name: Chapter 11: Veterans
Date: 12/04/95
Owner: National Performance Review

Chapter 11

Customer Service Standards for


Defense (Department)

Defense Finance and Accounting Service

Serves as the central financial and accounting office for the Department of Defense.

For retirees/annuitants:

* We will make initial retiree payments within 30 days of retirement.

* We will make initial Survivor Benefit Plan payments within 30 days from date of death notification.

* We will resolve arrears of pay within 60 days from death notification.

* Our service providers will be knowledgeable and courteous.

* We will provide prompt resolution to your inquiry. We will respond to your written inquiry within 15 calendar days.

Personnel and Readiness

Operation Transition

Helps people leaving the military to find civilian jobs.

* The Operation Transition Help Desk is scheduled to be available to employers from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST.

* Adequate staffing of the Help Desk will ensure that employers are called back the same business day.

* Enough phone lines are to be installed to ensure that employers don't get busy signals on the Defense Outplacement Referral System and the Transition Bulletin Board. All phones will be answered promptly and professionally.

Labor (Department)

Veterans Employment and Training

Helps veterans seeking employment and provides information and assistance to employers.

For veterans, we will provide:

* Courteous, prompt, and respectful service.

* An Eligibility Data Form: Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) Form 1010 within 10 days of receipt of a Veterans Reemployment Rights (VRR) complaint and within three days of the complaint if unemployed. We will also settle your VRR case, or refer it to the Department of Justice for litigation, within one year of your complaint.

* Referral for a job and/or job training opportunity for which you are deemed qualified and eligible, with first consideration to service-connected disabled veterans.

* Information about all the services for which you are qualified and eligible, with first consideration to service-connected disabled veterans.

* Help in filing a complaint about employment and training matters.

* Information about, and referral to, other agencies providing benefits and services.

For employers, we will provide:

* Courteous, prompt, and respectful service by dedicated staff.

* Qualified veteran applicants and eligible persons for job openings that are listed.

* A responsive and timely answer to your concerns.

* Answers to your questions about VETS employment and training programs and help in accessing community resources and incentive programs.

For grantees, we will provide:

* Courteous, prompt, and respectful service.

* Consultation with you about policy and program changes that affect your grant.

* A responsive and timely answer to your concerns.

* Answers to your questions about our employment and training programs.

National Archives and Records Administration

Ensures, for the citizen and the public servant, for the President and Congress and the courts, ready access to essential evidence.

* We will treat all of our customers with courtesy.

* We will meet or beat our established deadlines for providing customer service.

* We will provide high-quality service by knowledgeable staff.

* We will provide informational products to meet our customers' needs.

If you call or visit one of our facilities:

* You will find NARA staff and volunteers available in all offices to assist you during posted business hours. Our business hours will be prominently posted at all sites and noted in our brochures and through other information sources.

If you write to us about our holdings:

* You will be sent a response to your written request about our holdings within 10 work days after we receive your letter. If we cannot provide a full response within that time, we will tell you that we have received your request and tell you how long we expect it will take before we can provide a full reply.

If you attend one of our workshops:

* You will find the instructor to be professional, knowledgeable, and helpful. Upon completion of a workshop, you will have the information to help you understand the principles discussed and apply them confidently to issues within your area of interest.

If you need information about the National Archives:

* You can obtain timely and up-to-date information about NARA, its services, and holdings through the Internet and other on-line services, our fax-on-demand service, through printed publications, or by contacting one of our offices.

If you need information about government rules and announcements:

* You will be provided with timely information on a daily basis through the Federal Register, published in print and in electronic form by the Government Printing Office, on the following:

-- presidential proclamations and executive orders,

-- proposed rules and final regulations,

-- public meetings, and

-- federal grants.

If things go wrong:

* If our service has not matched our values and standards for customer service, we want to know so that we can do something about it and get it right the next time. Our local complaints and suggestions procedures are as follows. You may:

-- Discuss the problem with the person who served you.

-- Use our suggestion/complaint comment form (NA Form 14045). You can mail it or drop it in the box provided. Or you can simply write us a letter. If you request a reply, we will provide a response within seven working days.

-- Speak or write to the supervisor in charge. If we cannot solve your problem immediately, we will provide a response within seven working days.

-- If you are still not satisfied that we have handled your complaint or provided the service we promised, you can write to the Assistant Archivist for the office with which you have been dealing.

Veterans Affairs (Department)

Board of Veterans Appeals

Reviews appeals made by veterans or their beneficiaries.

Courtesy and respect:

* You will be treated with courtesy and respect by every Board of Veterans Appeals employee every time you have contact with the Board.


* Within 30 days from the date you file your appeal, you will receive a realistic estimate of when to expect a final decision on your appeal.


* All issues in your appeal will be thoroughly reviewed and decided according to the law.

* All information and evidence included in your appeal will be reviewed and considered when deciding your appeal.


* You will receive a complete and understandable explanation of the appeal process when you begin your appeal. You will also be provided a phone number and address that you may use to contact us for any questions regarding your appeal.

* You will receive an accurate, current status report on your appeal, upon your request.

* You will be kept informed of all significant developments in the processing of your appeal, including significant changes to the estimated completion date.

* You will receive a plain language explanation of the Board's decision along with the formal written decision on your appeal.

* If you receive an unfavorable decision on your appeal, we will provide a plain explanation of your additional appeal rights.

National Cemetery System

Provides burial services in National Cemeteries.


* We will deliver service in a manner reflecting compassion and respect for you and your family in a time of need.

* We will listen to your requests or questions and provide feedback that ensures understanding and comfort.


* We will accurately determine eligibility for burial services.

* We will provide a headstone or marker that is correctly inscribed.

* We will record and provide accurate gravesite locator information.


* We will provide clear, easily understood explanations of eligibility and all policies.


* We will determine eligibility for burial benefits within 48 hours.

* We will ensure that a headstone or marker is delivered to the cemetery within three months.

* We will mail Presidential Memorial Certificates within 45 days.


* We will provide scheduling seven days a week for Monday through Friday services.

* We will have office staff available to assist you during regular business hours.

* We will provide a 1-800 phone line for you to make inquiries about headstone and marker applications.


* We will maintain the appearance of individual gravesites, headstones, markers, and monuments in a manner befitting these national shrines

Veterans Benefits Administration

Provides benefits and services to eligible veterans and their beneficiaries.

Courtesy and respect:

* We will treat customers with courtesy and respect at all times.

Communication--We will communicate with customers accurately, completely, and clearly by:

* Explaining the full range of benefits and services available.

* Providing a realistic estimate of how long it will take to process their claim or answer their request.

* Keeping the customer informed on the status of the claim or request.

* Explaining all reasons for decisions.


* We will answer or acknowledge benefit inquiries within 10 workdays.

* We will respond to telephone calls within three minutes after the call goes through.

* We will interview customers at our offices within 20 minutes of arrival.

* We will deliver benefits and services in the shortest possible time.


* We will ensure ready customer access to our services.

* We will fully address all customer questions, concerns, and complaints.

Veterans Health Administration

Provides health care to eligible veterans and their dependents.

* We will treat you with courtesy and dignity. You can expect to be treated as the first-class citizen that you are.

* We will provide you with timely access to health care.

* We have talked to you, our patients, about your expectations for timeliness. You have told us that you expect to have your urgent needs met when they come up and your non-urgent needs taken care of in a reasonable period of time. You also said you understand that it may take some time for your medical facility to meet your expectations for timeliness. For that reason we have asked our medical facilities to do three things so that they eventually meet your expectations:

-- post local timeliness standards.

-- keep track of how well they meet those standards.

-- make continuous improvements in their timeliness.

* One health care team will be in charge of your care. Because health care often involves many different providers, it is important that one provider or team have overall responsibility. You can expect to know whom to contact when you need help or have a problem.

* We will involve you in decisions about your care. Your preferences will be met whenever possible and medically appropriate.

* We will listen to your concerns and discuss them with you.

* We will strive to meet your physical comfort needs. This includes help with things like pain management, eating, bathing, or getting to the bathroom while in the hospital. It also includes maintaining privacy during examinations and tests when an inpatient or outpatient.

* We will ensure proper facilities for veterans with special needs.

* We will provide support to meet your emotional needs.

* We will encourage you to share any anxieties and fears you may have about your condition or treatment. You can expect our staff to be sensitive to your feelings and help you deal with your health care experience.

* We will take responsibility for coordination of your care. Health care can be very complicated, and many patients need to see more than one health care professional.

* We will ensure that all your providers talk with each other and give you clear plans for your care. If you need a specialist, you can expect us to make all arrangements to ensure that one is provided for you.

* We will strive to provide information and education about your health care that you understand. You can also expect us to try to answer your questions in a way that you understand.

* We will provide opportunities to involve your family in your care. Whether your family is involved, however, should generally be your choice.

* We will provide smooth transition between your inpatient and outpatient care. You can expect to understand what medicines you are to take, what danger signals to look out for, and what activity level you can have after discharge. You can expect to know whom to contact if you need help or advice right away, and when your first follow-up appointment is.

Veterans Canteen Service

Provides retail services at veterans' facilities.

We will always treat you with courtesy and respect.

Retail stores:

* We guarantee unconditional customer satisfaction.

* We will handle all complaints promptly and to the customer's satisfaction--no ifs, ands, or buts.

* We guarantee the lowest price in town for current "price buster" merchandise, or we will refund the difference plus 10 percent.

* We will provide knowledgeable and helpful responses to your questions.

Food service:

* In canteens with Food Courts, we will serve you within three minutes.

* We guarantee you a positive dining experience each and every time.

* We will offer a "caregiver special" every day in the cafeteria or Food Court and price it within the lunch allowance for VA volunteers.


This book presents customer service standards for the organizations listed here. Numbers indicate the page number(s) in which each organization appears.

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation 21, 77, 163, 195

(Department of Agriculture) 22-30, 77-84, 133-134, 141-144, 164-165, 185-186, 196-197
Agricultural Research Service 22, 77, 141, 196
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 22, 78, 133, 141, 185, 196
Economic Agencies 24, 80, 143
Food and Consumer Service 164
Food Safety and Inspection Service 25, 81
Foreign Agricultural Service 25, 81
Forest Service 134, 186
Office of Communications 81
Office of Inspector General 164, 197
Packers and Stockyards Administration 25, 81
Rural Business and Cooperative Development Service 26
Rural Housing and Community Development Service 27, 82, 165
Rural Utilities Service 28
USDA Service Center 30, 84

Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board 85

Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation 85

Commerce (Department of Commerce) 30-38, 85-88, 134, 144-148, 166, 197-198
Bureau of Economic Analysis 30, 144
Bureau of Export Administration 31
Bureau of the Census 31, 144, 197
Economic Development Administration 166
Economics and Statistics Administration 32, 85, 144
International Trade Administration 32
Minority Business Development Agency 33
National Institute of Standards and Technology 33, 145
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 34, 86, 134, 145
National Technical Information Service 36, 87, 148
National Telecommunications and Information Administration 37, 87, 148
Office of Consumer Affairs 87
Commerce (cont.)
Office of Public Affairs 87
Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization 37
Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications 166
Patent and Trademark Office 37, 148

Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled 9-10, 88

Consumer Product Safety Commission 88-89, 166

Defense (Department of Defense) 10, 38, 89-90, 134-135, 167-168, 186, 198-201, 219
Defense Commissary Agency 198
Defense Finance and Accounting Service 38, 198, 219
Defense Logistics Agency 10, 38, 89
Office of the Secretary 167, 199
Performance Improvements and Management Reengineering 199
Personnel and Readiness 219
Public Affairs 89
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 90, 134, 167, 186, 199

Education (Department of Education) 90-95, 149-153, 201
Bilingual Education and Minority Languages 90, 149
Civil Rights Complaint Resolution 90, 149
Educational Research and Improvement 91, 149
Elementary and Secondary Education 91, 150
Inspector General Investigation and Audit Services 201
Office of the Secretary 92, 150
Postsecondary Education 93, 151
Special Education and Rehabilitative Services 93, 152
Vocational and Adult Education 94, 153

Energy (Department of Energy) 38-39, 95-96, 135-136, 153-154, 201-202
Economic Productivity Business Line 38, 153
Energy Information Administration 153, 201
Energy Resources Business Line 38, 135
Environmental Quality 95, 136
National Security Business Line 95, 202
Office of Environment, Safety and Health 39, 95, 202
Office of Science Education and Technical Information 154
Office of the Secretary 95
Science and Technology Business Line 154

Environmental Protection Agency 39-41, 96, 154, 168-170

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 41, 96, 202

Executive Office of the President 186, 202-203

Export-Import Bank of the United States 41-42

Federal Communications Commission 42-47, 96-99, 170

Federal Emergency Management Agency 99

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 47-48, 99

Federal Labor Relations Authority 203-204

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service 48-49

Federal Trade Commission 49-51

General Services Administration 100, 204-210
Federal Supply Service 204
Information Technology Service 205
Office of FTS2000 208
Public Buildings Service 208

Health and Human Services (Department of Health and Human Services) 10-13, 154-155, 170-172
Administration on Aging 10, 170
Health Care Financing Administration 10, 171
Public Health Service 11, 154

Housing and Urban Development
(Department of Housing and Urban Development) 13-16, 51, 100-101, 155, 172-176
Government National Mortgage Association 51
Office of Community Planning and Development 172
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity 13, 100, 173
Office of Housing--Fair Housing Administration 15, 51, 175
Policy Development and Research 155
Public and Indian Housing 101, 176

Interior (Department of the Interior) 52-55, 101-102, 136-139, 155-157, 176-177, 187-188
Bureau of Indian Affairs 136, 176
Bureau of Land Management 52, 136, 187
Bureau of Mines 52, 155
Bureau of Reclamation 137, 187
Fish and Wildlife Service 188
Minerals Management Service 52, 137
National Biological Survey 53, 155
National Park Service 138, 188
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 53, 101
U.S. Geological Survey 54, 102, 155

Interstate Commerce Commission 55

Japan-United States Friendship Commission 103

Justice (Department of Justice) 55-56, 103-105, 125-129, 157, 177, 188-190, 210-211
Antitrust Division 55
Asset Forfeiture 125
Bureau of Prisons 125, 210
Community Relations Service 103, 126, 177
Drug Enforcement Agency 126
Federal Bureau of Investigation 126, 157, 177
Freedom of Information Act 103
Immigration and Naturalization Service 103, 127, 188
Office of Justice Programs 127
Office of the Inspector General 210
Response Center 105, 128
U.S. Attorneys' Offices 128
U.S. National Central Bureau 128
U.S. Trustee Program 56

Labor (Department of Labor) 17-18, 56-59, 105-106, 157-158, 177-178, 211, 219-220
Bureau of Labor Statistics 56, 105, 157
Employment and Training Administration 177
Employment Standards Administration 57, 105, 211
Mine Safety and Health Administration 58, 106, 178
Occupational Safety and Health Administration 58, 106
Office of the American Workplace 59
Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration 17
Veterans Employment and Training 219

Merit Systems Protection Board 211-212

National Aeronautics and Space Administration 59-60, 106, 158, 190

National Archives and Records Administration 107-108, 158-159, 190-191, 220-221

National Commission on Libraries and Information Science 108

National Endowment for the Arts 108-109

National Endowment for the Humanities 109, 159

National Gallery of Art 109

National Labor Relations Board 109-112

National Mediation Board 60-61

National Science Foundation 159-160

Office of Personnel Management 112, 212-213
Federal Employment Information System 112, 212
Office of Insurance Programs 212

Peace Corps 112-115

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation 18, 61, 115

Railroad Retirement Board 18

Securities and Exchange Commission 61, 129

Small Business Administration 61-62

Social Security Administration 19

State (Department of State) 62-63, 115-116, 191, 213-214
Bureau of Administration 115
Bureau of Consular Affairs 191
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs 62
Diplomatic Security Service 213
Office of the Coordinator for Business Affairs 62
Office of Foreign Missions 214
Office of Overseas Schools 116, 214

(Department of Transportation) 63-70, 116-120, 129-130, 160-161, 178-183, 191-192, 214-216
Federal Aviation Administration 63, 116, 178, 191
Federal Highway Administration 64, 117, 129, 178, 191
Federal Railroad Administration 65, 118, 180, 214
Federal Transit Administration 66, 181
Maritime Administration 67, 118
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 67, 119, 181
Research and Special Programs Administration 68, 120, 130, 161, 182
U.S. Coast Guard 70, 130, 192

Treasury (Department of the Treasury) 19, 70-74, 121-122, 131, 192-193, 216-217
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms 70, 121, 131
Bureau of Engraving and Printing 121, 192, 216
Bureau of the Public Debt 121
Comptroller of the Currency 71
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center 131, 216
Financial Management Service 19
Internal Revenue Service 122
Office of Thrift Supervision 72
U.S. Customs Service 73, 193
U.S. Mint 122, 217
U.S. Secret Service 131, 217

U.S. Agency for International Development 74-76, 183-184

U.S. Institute of Peace 122-123, 161

U.S. International Trade Commission 217

U.S. Postal Service 123

U.S. Trade and Development Agency 76

Veterans Affairs (Department of Veterans Affairs) 76, 221-223
Board of Veterans Appeals 221
National Cemetery System 221
Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization 76
Veterans Benefits Administration 222
Veterans Health Administration 222

Additional Resources

The following National Performance Review (NPR) resources and reports are available in hard copy from the Government Printing Office (202-512-1800) or National Technical Information Service (703-487-4650). Materials can also be accessed electronically; see below for further ordering and access information.


"Reinventing the Government . . . By the People" S/N 040-000-00649-4


Creating a Government That Works Better & Costs Less: Report of the National Performance ReviewS/N 040-000-00592-7
Creating a Government That Works Better & Costs Less: Executive SummaryS/N 040-000-00591-9
Creating a Government That Works Better & Costs Less: Status Report, September 1994S/N 040-000-00646-0
Putting Customers First: Standards for Serving the American PeopleS/N 040-000-00647-0
Common Sense Government: Works Better & Costs LessS/N 040-000-00662-1

Changing Internal Culture
Creating Quality Leadership and ManagementS/N 040-000-00624-9
Streamlining Management ControlS/N 040-000-00623-1
Transforming Organizational StructuresS/N 040-000-00630-3
Improving Customer ServiceS/N 040-000-00618-4

Reinventing Processes and Systems
Mission-Driven, Results-Oriented BudgetingS/N 040-000-00619-2
Improving Financial ManagementS/N 040-000-00619-2
Reinventing Human Resource ManagementS/N 040-000-00630-3
Reinventing Support ServicesS/N 040-000-00628-1
Reinventing Federal ProcurementS/N 040-000-00616-8
Reengineering Through Information TechnologyS/N 040-000-00626-5
Rethinking Program DesignS/N 040-000-00629-0

Restructuring the Federal Role
Strengthening the Partnership in Intergovernmental Service DeliveryS/N 040-000-00621-4
Reinventing Environmental ManagementS/N 040-000-00615-0
Improving Regulatory SystemsS/N 040-000-00620-6

Agencies and Departments
Agency for International DevelopmentS/N 040-000-00593-5
Department of AgricultureS/N 040-000-00594-3
Department of CommerceS/N 040-000-00595-1
Department of DefenseS/N 040-000-00596-0
Department of EducationS/N 040-000-00597-8
Department of EnergyS/N 040-000-00598-6
Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentS/N 040-000-00609-5
Department of the InteriorS/N 040-000-00600-1
Department of LaborS/N 040-000-00601-0
Department of State/U.S. Information AgencyS/N 040-000-00602-8
Department of Veterans AffairsS/N 040-000-00614-1
Environmental Protection AgencyS/N 040-000-00605-2
Federal Emergency Management AgencyS/N 040-000-00697-9
General Services AdministrationS/N 040-000-00617-6
Intelligence CommunityS/N 040-000-00610-9
National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationS/N 040-000-00611-7
National Science Foundation/Office of Science and Technology PolicyS/N 040-000-00612-5
Office of Personnel ManagementS/N 040-000-00625-7
Small Business AdministrationS/N 040-000-00613-3


Creating a Government That Works Better & Costs Less, Status Report, September 1994.

Order the CD-ROM from NTIS, the National Technical Information Service at the Department of Commerce.

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