Last year Service Officers from the Department of Pennsylvania VFW helped file claims for 4,400 veterans. This brought in $44 million in government benefits for those who have sacrificed so much for our country.
Service Officers guide veterans through the process of getting benefits and services. Advocates work with veterans from start to finish, from the application to the review process.
“It’s a big problem to get the information to them to know they are eligible for benefits and that I’m here for them,” said Service Officer Audrey Bergstresser. “I’m not here to help you get the money, that’s a secondary issue. I’m here to make sure you get the care and treatment you need to become the best husband, father, son daughter, whatever it is. That’s what it’s all about.”
Rodney Mease is a veteran who just found out, through the help of Bergstresser, that he qualifies for help. “This is actually my first time meeting with them. A counselor at the Carlisle Barracks recommended talking to her about my Prostate cancer so I called her last Thursday and she was very helpful. Right away she said definitely come and we’ll take care of the paperwork and we’ll take care of it for you. It was great today. A lot of information I wasn’t aware of. I hadn’t filed a claim because I didn’t even realize it. So all of these years I could have been getting disability,” said Mease.
This is a free service; there is no need to pay for VA claims help.
The VFW is one of numerous organizations that receive state funding through PA Act 66 to help expand its veterans outreach. Outreach officers can visit veterans’ homes or meet veterans closer to their homes for those who cannot afford to travel to city offices. Call State HQ at (717) 234-7927
For more information about the State Service Officer program click here.