Plain Language

Plain Language2023-11-09T07:37:15-05:00

We’re committed to creating content that Veterans, their family members, and those who support them can easily find, understand, and use. Keep reading to learn more about our plain language policies and efforts—and how to contact us with feedback.

Our commitment to plain language under the Plain Writing Act

We’re committed to writing all content for Veterans and the public in plain language.

We follow plain language standards for all content that meets any of these criteria:

  • The content is necessary for getting VA benefits or services
  • The content provides information about any VA benefit or service
  • The content explains to the public how to comply with a requirement that VA administers or enforces

We follow the guidance in the Plain Writing Act of 2010. This law requires federal agencies to write “clear Government communication that the public can understand and use.” The Office of Management and Budget issued final guidance to implement the law on April 13, 2011.

Read the Plain Language Writing Act of 2010 on

Read about the law’s final guidance on the Obama White House archives website

We’ve created our own in-depth content style guide for digital content.

Go to our content style guide

We also follow federal guidelines.

Go to the federal plain language guidelines on

Vivian Drake, staff assistant, Office of the Executive Secretary, at (202) 461-7028, serves as our plain language coordinator.

How to give us feedback about plain language

We invite you to contact us with feedback on any of these topics:

  • Our Plain Writing Action Plan
  • Trouble understanding our documents, websites, or other applications
  • Use of plain language in our public meetings

You can send us feedback at You can also use the feedback button directly on our website.

More about our plain language policies and efforts

In 2014, we created our VA Directive 0001 to establish a Department-wide policy for our VA Plain Language Program.

Here’s what this directive does:

  • Establishes a Department-wide policy for our VA Plain Language Program
  • Assigns responsibilities and provides procedures for our VA Plain Language Program following the Plain Writing Act of 2010 (Public Law 111 274)
  • Promotes our use of clear, concise, and well-organized language in content to communicate with intended audiences effectively, following the guidance in Presidential Memorandum, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memorandum M-11-15

Download VA Directive 0001, VA Plain Language Program (PDF)

Plain Language Committee

We have a committee of plain language points of contact from across VA to support these actions:

  • Review and revise policy and guidance

  • Monitor our compliance with the Plain Writing Act

  • Promote our implementation plan

  • Share best practices and resources


Plain Language Compliance Reports

We publish an annual Plain Writing Act compliance report to provide transparency about our implementation efforts each year.

Employee training and plain language oversight

We require employees who regularly write or edit public-facing content to take our plain language training program.

Our content experts also provide continued training, guidance, and editorial oversight for all core benefit content on the modernized

Plain language resources for VA content authors content style guide

Content production checklists

Our content checklists help content authors complete a quality check for top plain language, accessibility, and translation issues before publishing content:

Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN)

The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) is the official interagency working group designated to assist in issuing plain writing guidance. The PLAIN Web site includes more guidelines and tools for writing in clear language.

Go to the federal plain language website