If you’re a veteran and have been turned down for help from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a local representative would like you to give it another shot.
“Some veterans have been turned down over a period of time,” Acting Veterans Services Officer Jamie Odom said. “The VA has changed. We invited them to reapply. Let’s do what’s right for our veterans.”
The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs provides services for both service-connected and non-service-connected claims if they qualify for wartime service from World War II and on, he said.
A number of ailments can be linked to wartime service that could result in a successful claim, Odom said. For instance, Gulf War-era veterans, who served starting in the late 1990s until present day, could be experiencing digestive issues, chronic fatigue or other ailments for which the VA would be responsible. For Vietnam-era veterans, Odom said, symptoms could range from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease and respiratory issues caused by the use of Agent Orange.
“With a lot of our veterans, we don’t know the extent of the damage Agent Orange had on health issues,” he said.
To file a claim, Odom said a veteran only needs proof of service and a current medical diagnosis from a VA or outside physician. The VA will then send the veteran to a third-party examination and all the results are sent to someone called a rater, who will make the final decision, Odom said.
“Area veterans can get services rendered at no charge,” he said.
This includes hearing aids, which Odom said can run thousands of dollars.
“So many of the folks have experienced [hearing loss],” Odom said. “The VA will pay for hearing aids, batteries and whatever you need to maintain them, which is huge.”
The VA does not pay disability, but does pay compensation for injuries resulting in potential loss of income, Odom said.
The VA will pay pension based upon an asset limit of $123,600, not including a house, or up to two acres of land, Odom said.
The department is taking part in a senior benefits event at the Satsuma Library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18. Odom said representatives of the agency will be on hand to better explain benefits to seniors. Odom, who is a veteran Naval construction worker, said veterans can come by the office at 1150 Government St., Room 107, for more information.
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