Where to start? I am a Persian Gulf War era disabled veteran. The Navy retired me after 14 years of service, on Christmas Eve 1996. Since then I have worked with Veteran Service Organizations and the Department of Veterans Affairs. During this time, as a result of my efforts, I’ve helped veterans and their families get over $1 million in benefits they’ve earned. It’s not the money I’m focused on. It’s the vast improvement in the quality of life for the veterans and their families that drives me.
My mission is to help veterans, and their families, navigate through the never-ending red tape at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). I have learned over the years, the VA often isn’t helpful when someone has questions about benefits. Typically, they will refer you to the VA website, www.va.gov, or they’ll mail them the Federal Benefits handbook. Either way, the information doesn’t actually tell those inquiring if they are actually eligible or not for the benefit.
Another reason for this blog is to help people develop their claims. When dealing with the VA, if the VA finds you are entitled to a benefit, the VA has to pay the benefit. But they won’t tell you what questions to asks, or tell you how to ask, for the benefits. I will focus on what questions should be asked and why.
I am an accredited Service Officer. I have argued claims at the VA, at Discharge Review Boards, at the Board For Correction Of Military Records, and on behalf of the service member at Physical Evaluation Boards. So yes, I like argue.
I will provide the source of my arguments. I want everyone to know where to find the information. The information is public, but the public isn’t told where to look. Veterans should not be required to be research experts to obtain assistance or simply get answers to their questions.
Yes, there are Veteran Service Organizations who provide assistance. One advantage I have is that I do not rely on the contributions of members to stay in existence. You do not have to worry about me answering the phone. I don’t have a phone. However, I always have my computer with me and can answer questions from anywhere. And in this forum, if I answer a specific question, others can see the answer which might help them. Therefore, everyone wins. Even the VA wins by having well-developed claims that can be processed quickly which will help reduce the almost 1,000,000 claim backlog.