DAV – Disabled American Veterans Overview

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Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization is a non-profit charity that offers support for veterans and their families. Every year, DAV provides more than 600,000 rides to veterans and assists in filing over 200,000 benefits claims. In 2019, DAV helped veterans receive more than $21 billion in earned benefits. All services are offered at no cost…

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization is a non-profit charity that offers support for veterans and their families. Every year, DAV provides more than 600,000 rides to veterans and assists in filing over 200,000 benefits claims. In 2019, DAV helped veterans receive more than $21 billion in earned benefits. All services are offered at no cost to all generations of veterans, their families, and survivors.

DAV’s mission is to provide free, professional assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services earned through military service and provided by the Veterans Administration (VA) and other government agencies. Additionally, DAV is committed to representing the interests of disabled veterans, their families, and survivors to Congress, the White House, and the judicial branch and also advocating on state and local levels.

There are almost 1,300 chapters and more than 1 million members across the country. DAV aims to empower veterans and their families by providing resources, arranging transportation, and facilitating legislative change.

How Does Disabled American Veterans Support Our Community?

Veterans can use DAV’s services to better understand their healthcare, disability, education, financial, and employment benefits offered through the VA. DAV provides rides for veterans who have difficulty getting to the VA and other appointments.

Outreach programs help bring DAV benefits, counseling, and assistance programs to veterans who are unable to travel to their local offices.

The lasting effects of service-connected injuries can make it difficult for disabled veterans to find the care they need. DAV understands that once a servicemember has been injured, there’s a long road to recovery. That’s one reason the organization is so committed to providing disabled veterans with employment resources specially curated to help. DAV offers resources for caregivers, for those dealing with PTSD, and resources specific to the challenges that women veterans face.

DAV also offers estate planning resources and a death benefits guide. The organization also provides exhaustive information relating to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), the monthly benefits paid to the surviving spouse, child, or parent of a veteran who has died while on active duty or as a result of service-connected disability or condition caused/worsened by a service-connected disability. DIC, death pension, and other benefits might be difficult to understand, which is why the DAV is committed to ensuring that survivors get all the benefits they are entitled to. More information can be found here.

The DAV Helps with Veterans Benefits Claims

Understanding the VA claims process can be confusing, and the DAV works hard to ensure that anyone who needs help with claims gets the assistance they need. That’s why DAV benefits experts are available across the country to help.

In 2015, the VA implemented new regulations that require the use of a standard claim and appeal form. These new forms aim to formalize the process of applying for VA benefits. To help disabled veterans understand the forms, the DAV has links on their site to the forms and a listing of frequently asked questions.

The guidance that DAV offers stretches from basic advice on filing service-related injury claims to more comprehensive counseling focused on specific groups of veterans. This includes resources for LGBT veterans, veterans with amputations/limp loss, and vision-impaired veterans resources.

Who Is Eligible for Service?

Any servicemember who was not dishonorably discharged and sustained an injury or illness during their time in service (either determined service-connected by the VA or not) or anyone who aggravated a previous injury during their time in service is eligible for DAV membership so long as they served during a period of armed conflict. This does not have to be direct combat.

DAV’s services, which include help with filing VA claims and employment assistance, doesn’t require DAV membership.

Becoming a member strengthens the organization’s reach and elevates the voices of disabled veterans around the country. Other advantages include discounts, bonuses, and complementary products and services. Find out more about becoming a member or locate your local service office here.

How Does DAV Compare to Similar Organizations?

The most comparable veteran organization is Wounded Warriors Project (WWP) since WWP is directly involved in the aftercare of service-related injuries.

Disabled American Veterans has been around for much longer than WWP, and though the organization brings in less money than WWP, DAV does more with the financial donations they have. Based on Charity Navigator’s findings, DAVs transparent financial reports make it easy to understand how much money goes to veterans in need versus the less-clear WWP reports. To maximize contributions that will directly impact disabled veterans, DAV is a better choice. WWP gets a lot of attention because it receives many celebrity endorsements, but all of that comes at a cost. Consider that if you’re exploring how to make a difference with a financial contribution.

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About Jessica Evans

Jessica Evans is a Cincinnati native who gets the chance to reinvent home every few years. Most recently, she lived in a Bavarian forest. Now, she's on the way to establishing roots in Washington DC. Evans has an MFA from Spalding and has over a decade of professional writing experience. She mainly writes within the military and wellness communities. Evans is also a mentor for Veteran's Writing Project, a nonprofit organization that connects veterans with writers eager to tell their stories. Evans is a previous Pushcart nominee, a fiction reader for literary magazines, and hosts a monthly writing group. When she's not writing, she's training for competition. Connect with her on twitter @jesssica__evans.

Featured on: Jessica's writing has been featured in the following publications: We Are the Mighty, Reserve + National Guard Magazine, Military Families Magazine, Lincoln Military Housing, Hire GI, and many other publications.

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