VFW helping vets receive benefits

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The Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars invites veterans of all ages and from all service eras to utilize its Service Officer Network to receive free information about and assistance for applying for government veterans benefits including VA healthcare, compensation, pension, education, dependent benefits and State veterans benefits.

The PA VFW has full-time, VA-accredited Service Officers available to meet with veterans at the VFW State Headquarters in Harrisburg, Lebanon, Spring Grove, Red Lion, Reading and Lititz. These Service Officers can also visit veterans in their homes if disabilities prevent them from driving to appointments. Surviving spouses of veterans can also utilize these Service Officers to find out if they are eligible for benefits.

Veterans do not have to be a VFW member to receive assistance, but they must provide a DD-214 discharge form and any relevant medical documents.

To schedule an appointment or inquire about benefits call (717) 234-7927.

In 2007, the PA Legislature passed Act 66 to appropriate funds to assist veteran’s service organizations in guiding veterans from all parts of the state with the government benefits. The PA VFW used grant funds to expand its service outreach network.

If veterans have already been diagnosed with a condition they should gather paperwork—including doctor reports—that define the injury or illness. Veterans who want the VA to review earlier claim decisions due worsening health will need to demonstrate that the condition has further escalated. Submitting new medical evidence with the claim will help minimize delays in the VA rating review process.

Vietnam veterans should know that the VA has defined some health conditions as being “presumptive” for being caused by exposure to the defoliant Agent Orange. Veterans with these health conditions may be eligible for benefits (there are qualifying issues with each condition): AL Amyloidosis, Chronic B-cell Leukemias, Chloracne, Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, Hodgkin’s Disease, Ischemic Heart Disease, Multiple Myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Parkinson’s Disease, Peripheral Neuropathy/ Early-Onset, Porphyria Cutanea Tarda, Prostate Cancer, Respiratory Cancers, and Soft Tissue Sarcomas. For more details visit www.va.gov and search for Agent Orange information.

Each year, the PA VFW helps veterans receive more than $30 million of federal benefit dollars through its Service Office network, which hires and trains full-time Service Officers to work with benefit claims during all stages of processing including appeals to VA decisions. Nationally over the past few years, VFW Service Officers connected veterans with more than $4 billion in federal benefit dollars.

SOURCE: PA VFW State HQ