Veterans Service Organizations for Benefits Claims Assistance, Career Guidance, and More

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Making the transition from the military world back to the civilian world is a difficult task. The problem is compounded if you are still recovering from combat, recuperating from wounds, moving to a new location, transitioning with a family to take care of, and many other factors. The good news is there are dozens of…

Making the transition from the military world back to the civilian world is a difficult task. The problem is compounded if you are still recovering from combat, recuperating from wounds, moving to a new location, transitioning with a family to take care of, and many other factors. The good news is there are dozens of government agencies and Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) that were created to help veterans and their families, or their survivors.

Many of these organizations offer veterans a variety of services, including VA disability benefits claims assistance, education and job training, job fairs, resume writing services, financial grants, opportunities to participate in community service projects, and more. In most cases, these services are free.

The best part is you get to tap into the experience and expertise of service officers who have been there, done that, walk the walk, talk the talk, and know how and where to get help. If these organizations can’t help you, they can certainly put you into contact with someone who can.

Get Individualized Benefits Claims Assistance

Veterans benefits eligibility often varies by when and where the veteran served, how long they served, whether or not they have a service-connected disability rating, and many other factors. Because of this, it’s not always easy to know which benefits a veteran is eligible to receive without undergoing a full benefits review.

Thankfully, there are many great organizations with service officers who can help you review your benefits eligibility to see which benefits programs you may be eligible to receive. They will go through your service records, medical records, and other information you provide, and they will help you identify which benefits you are eligible to receive or which programs you may be eligible to participate in.

They can also help you file a VA benefits claim for service-connected disability compensation, place a claim for education or training benefits, vocational rehabilitation and employment, VA Home loans, Veterans Group Life Insurance, veterans pension (also called Aid & Attendance), VA health care enrollment, military burial benefits, and more.

Some of these VSOs also offer grants, training, scholarships, and other forms of assistance.

Veteran Service Organizations Offer You Assistance

There are many types of Veterans Service Organizations. I would start with the Department of Veterans Affairs, then work your way through your state and local government, chartered VSOs, then finally, seek outside resources if necessary (these could include legal professionals or for-profit organizations).

Start with the Department of Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the best places for veterans to go for help. They have experts who can help you review your benefits and file a claim. They also maintain directories of Veteran Service Organizations where you can find assistance. These include organizations at the local, state, regional, and national levels. Please note this is not a comprehensive list of every Veteran Service Organization.

You can visit the Directory of Veterans Service Organizations that hosts a 75-page pdf containing contact information for dozens of VSOs. You can find the directory in pdf form here.

The VA eBenefits website also has a searchable directory where you can search for representatives in your specific area.

State & County Offices of Veterans Affairs Also Offer Great Support

The next place to seek assistance is your state or county VA office. These organizations work for you and have a vested interest in helping you obtain the veteran’s benefits you have earned.

Here is a list of State Government Veteran Benefit Websites. Every state has a slightly different name for its Office of Veterans Affairs, and each of them has a slightly different scope of offered services. However, most states offer benefits such as education, job placement, benefits claims assistance, housing, and more. Most states now also offer a veterans designation on state-issued driver’s licenses and state-issued ID cards.

Federally Chartered Veterans Service Organizations

The next group of organizations to seek out are federally chartered VSOs. These organizations are not officially endorsed or recommended by the VA or the federal government. However, they have been “federally chartered and/or recognized or approved by the VA Secretary for purposes of preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims under laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

In short, these organizations have been vetted to ensure they know what they are doing and that they have the veterans’ best interests in mind.

Most federally chartered VSOs are non-profit organizations and do not charge for their services.

Accredited Representatives

Finally, we have Accredited Representatives. According to the VA website:

An accredited representative is an individual who has undergone a formal application and training process and is recognized by VA as being capable of assisting claimants with their affairs before VA. Most accredited representatives work for veteran service organizations (VSOs) many of which are private non-profit groups that advocate on behalf of Veterans, Servicemembers, dependents and survivors. Accredited representatives may also work for state or county government entities.

The accreditation process includes an examination, a background investigation, and continuing education requirements to ensure VSOs are providing the most up-to-date information. Recognized organizations and individuals, whether congressionally chartered VSOs or VA accredited claims agents or attorneys, can legally represent a Veteran, Servicemember, dependent, or survivor before VA. Non-recognized organizations and individuals can provide information, but cannot be a representative.

In short, you will find trained Accredited Representatives at many non-profit VSOs, and they will assist you for free. However, not all Accredited Representatives are required to offer free services.

Many Services Are Free – But Not All

Many Accredited Representatives work for non-profit VSOs and state and local governments. These representatives will not charge you any fees.

However, some VA accredited claims agents and attorneys may charge fees for their services. Not all cases and situations are straightforward and sometimes you need to hire a legal professional to help you through a difficult claims process. The VA has strict rules regarding what they consider to be reasonable fees.

Here is some information from the VA website:

The fees charged by VA-accredited attorneys and agents may be based on a fixed fee, an hourly rate, a percentage of past-due benefits recovered, or any combination of these options. Veterans may choose to enter into a fee agreement providing that fees for representation will be paid by VA directly out of any past-due benefits awarded to the Veteran. Such a fee is limited to 20 percent of the total amount of past-due benefits awarded on the claim. A fee not exceeding 20 percent of past-due benefits awarded is presumed by VA to be reasonable; fees exceeding 33⅓ percent of past-due benefits awarded are presumed by VA to be unreasonable.

How to Appoint a VSO or Representative

Veterans Service Organizations will offer a lot of assistance free of charge and without any complications. However, if you want them to represent you to the VA, you will need to officially appoint them. You can appoint an attorney, claim agent, VSO, or other Representative to represent you or manage your current claim by one of two methods:

You will need to mail VA Form 21-22 to the following address:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444

Prominent VSO’s – Help Filing VA Claims and More

Here is a list of some nationally recognized VSOs. Many of the following organizations have state and local branches, which makes them easier to visit in-person. Visit their websites or give them a call to see if you can benefit from their services, or if you can volunteer your services to their organization.

American Legion

American LegionAmerican Legion: The American Legion was chartered in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. The American Legion is one of the largest military organizations, with over 2.4 million members at over 14,000 posts.

They offer a wide range of programs that extend to local communities up to the national level, where they lobby on behalf of our nation’s veterans. Some of the benefits programs they offer include:

AMVETS – American Veterans

American Veterans AMVETSAMVETS – American Veterans: AMVETS was founded in 1944, and by 1947, it was chartered by Congress as the first WWII veterans organization. Their mission continues today as they welcome anyone who is currently serving, or who has hon­or­ably served, in the U.S. Armed Forces from World War II to the present, to include the National Guard and Reserves.

AMVETS has a strong lobbying presence where they lobby for veterans benefits, adequate VA funding, services for homeless veterans, con­cur­rent receipt of retire­ment pay and dis­abil­ity com­pen­sa­tion by dis­abled mil­i­tary retirees, vet­er­ans employ­ment and train­ing, POW/MIA account­abil­ity and flag protection. Some of the benefits they offer veterans include:

  • Free Assistance for compensation and benefits claims
  • Transition Assistance,
  • Career Centers,
  • Scholarships for high school seniors, ROTC students, and veterans pursuing higher education,
  • Other programs,
  • Learn more at http://www.AMVETS.org.

DAV – Disabled American Veterans

Disabled American Veterans DAVDisabled American Veterans (DAV): The DAV stretches back to 1920 when it was formed as an organization to support wounded World War I veterans.

Today, the DAV continues to serve disabled veterans, their families, their widowed spouses, and their orphans through lobbying efforts and a variety of benefits and assistance, including:

  • Filing a VA Benefits Claim,
  • Transition Assistance benefits claims,
  • Transportation to and from VA and other appointments,
  • Job search assistance,
  • Outreach programs and information seminars,
  • Disaster relief,
  • Assistance for homeless veterans,
  • and much more.
  • Learn more at http://ww.DAV.org.

IAVA – Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America

Iraq Afghanistan Vet­er­ans of Amer­ica (IAVA)Iraq Afghanistan Vet­er­ans of Amer­ica (IAVA):

The IAVA exists to improve the lives of those who served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. IAVA hosts hundreds of events nationwide each year, creating opportunities for vets and their families to connect with each other and gain access to customized health care, education and employment services.

Additional services include transition assistance through the Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP), which provides individualized assistance or referrals for:

  • Disability Claims,
  • Education Benefits,
  • Mental Health,
  • Financial Assistance,
  • Employment Services,
  • Housing Services,
  • And more.
  • Learn more at http://www.IAVA.org/rrrp.

VFW – Veterans of Foreign Wars

Veterans of Foreign Wars VFWVeterans of Foreign Wars (VFW): The VFW traces its roots back to 1899, following the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection.

Today the VFW and its Auxiliaries have over 2 million members who contribute to their local communities. The VFW also offers the following assistance benefits:

  • Filing a VA Benefits Claim,
  • Separation Benefits,
  • Assistance claiming education benefits,
  • Veterans Scholarships,
  • Financial Aid – up to $2,500 financial assistance through the Unmet Needs program,
  • And more.
  • Learn more at http://www.VFW.org.

VVA – Vietnam Veterans of America

Vietnam Veterans of America - VVAVietnam Veterans of America (VVA). The VVA features over 600 local chapters in 43 states. They offer fellowship, volunteer opportunities, and community service, lobbying at the national level, and other programs.

The VVA also offers one-on-one benefits counseling and claims assistance through a veteran Service Officer. Learn more at http://www.VVA.org.

More Recommendations? As we mentioned, this is only a partial list of national organizations that focus on helping veterans with VA benefits claims, career guidance, and similar objectives. Feel free to download the VA list for a more comprehensive overview of different VSOs. We will also be happy to add other national Veterans Service Organizations that focus on the aforementioned topics. Let us know which organizations you recommend and we will add them to this list.

Images: Each of these emblems and logos are owned by their respective organization.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of The Military Wallet. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

Featured In: Ryan's writing has been featured in the following publications: Forbes, Military.com, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, Reserve & National Guard Magazine (print and online editions), Military Influencer Magazine, Cash Money Life, The Military Guide, USAA, Go Banking Rates, and many other publications.

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  1. Abel Colon says

    I’m a retired Air Force Master Sergeant, 24+ years with a Total and Permanently Disabled & Unemployable rating. My sources of income are my Military Retirement, VA Disability Compensation, and Social Security Disability.

    My question to anyone who may be able to help is this: Why is there no limit set in the amount Florida judges can take from your disability compensation/income to pay out towards alimony?

    Currently, I’m paying over 41% of my retirement pay even though the ex-spouse is only entitled to 35%, plus an additional $2,000 in alimony which will have to come from my disability compensation/income. I’ve done lots of research and could not find anything which stops or limits the Florida judges from taking disability compensation/income from a disabled individual and giving it to a non-disabled (who can work and no children involved) person in the form of alimony. I receive $3,106 from the VA and $1,478 from SSA ($4,584 total) which means I’m paying 43.63% of my disability compensation/income towards a non-disabled person in the form of alimony.

    Under Florida law they look at all sources of income in determining alimony.

    The 2018 Florida Statutes 61.08?Alimony.—

    (i)?All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset held by that party.

    If there is anyone with information in this matter, who can help explain this or help in creating/passing some kind of law to help disabled individuals in protecting their disability compensation/income I would like to hear from you.

    Disability compensation/income was meant to be for the disabled not to be then divided to a non-disabled individual. If anything, at least create/pass a law to place a limit on how much can be taken away.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Abel,

      This is a question for a lawyer that specializes in military divorce cases and is registered to practice law in the state of Florida. I’m not qualified to answer this question.

      I wish you the best.

      • Abel Colon says

        Mr. Guina,

        Thank you for your reply.

        I’ve talked with several lawyers both military and non-military and they all say the same, when it comes to alimony there is NO law limiting how much the judges can take from ones disability compensation/income.  It doesn’t matter if it’s VA Disability Compensation or Social Security Disability income.  All they look at are all sources of income regardless of where it comes from.

        I was just trying to bring this to light, hoping someone could do something to change this policy. 

        Disability income should be for the disabled.

        Thank you for letting me say something about this.

  2. Frank Wright says

    Please verify that the balance of my SSA account will be paid to my estate six months after my passing?

  3. Vet Mom says

    I know 2 war vets that since learning I’m 100% P&T wished they had listened to me 20yrs ago when I worked at VA TO GET TO A DR AND GET DIAGNOSED!!! They were always too busy!! My rare tumor (left facial damage)was service connected I think 15yrs later because I have extensive medical records from England until service connection!! My VA supervisor a former rater advised me it should have been s/c! 1 friend just got s/c and he agreed IT WAS IN HIS MILITARY MEDICAL RECORDS and went to a Dr for current diagnosis!! Tumors, cancers etc can be presumed BUT still get to a Drs!! One of my fave VSO reps turns out was stealing from VA so I advise to ALSO CHECK ON YOUR CASE because they get overwhelmed!! Good luck and NEVER GIVE UP!!

  4. Robert Pace says

    I was station in Korea from 1973 to 1974 my MOS was 11C20 4.2 mortars. Being in the field of we often dismount the mortar and mounted them on the ground so we lifted base plate they were a little heavy and being young you think you can handle it. Every so often you hurt your back so you think nothing of it you get a pain pill from the medic and think nothing of it. Being in the field for 30 days you can’t go on sick call so you don’t think anything about anymore and it’s not documented. But years later you start feeling the effect and file a claim, but they denied it because it not documented. Could there be a way to get benefits? I have been diagnosed with arthritis on the spine bulging disc and degenerative disc. The VA sent me to therapy for 15 weeks and I just had an epidural injection and to have another in 3 months. So what should I do?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Robert,

      It can be possible to file a disability claim years after the fact. However, you would need to be able to prove the medical condition occurred or was made worse by military service. This will require you to provide documentation (if available) as well as written statements. I recommend working with a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, VFW, or similar organizations. They have trained benefits counselors that can assist you with your claim.

      Best wishes.

  5. Joe Grass says

    Hello. I am a retired Marine and Gulf War Vet. When i was on active duty, I sucked it up and never went to sick call for my rashes and stomach issues or really any other issues unless I was taken by ambulance because that was not the thing to do. Since I have retired, I have been to a civilian doctor/specialist multiple times over the years for those mentioned issues. I just recently started going to the VA for care. Am I too late to apply for disability for those issues?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Joe, There is no time limit for applying for VA benefits. However, you still must be able to show a direct connection, or nexus, between your military service and your medical condition. This is most often done through medical records, but can also be established through other means. 

      This type of benefits application can be more complicated and is best assisted by a veterans benefits counselor. You can find free benefits claims assistance through the VA, your county VA office, and certain Veterans Service Organizations, such as the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, etc.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  6. Cala Williams says

    My husband started the process for VA benefits before he passed in 2013. I was told by an employee at the clinic back then that because his benefits had not actually started, my son nor I was eligible to receive them. Is that true

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Cala, I’m sorry for your loss. I do not know the VA rules regarding this situation. I recommend contacting the VA with this inquiry.

      That said, if it can be proved that your husband died from a service-related illness or injury, it may be possible that you are eligible for some benefits. So you may wish to contact the VA, your county VA office, or a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, etc. They have trained benefits counselors that can offer free benefits claims assistance.

      I wish you and your family the best.

    • Timothy Hickey says

      Hey Tim, did you try contacting your local Congress Rep or Senator? I have leaned on mine many times in the past with success. Best of luck brother…been where you are…done that!

  7. Sgt Tanner says

    @BlairMarsh

    Hello Soldier,

    I am Airborne Infantry. They were handing out lots of bad paper since FY 2000. It is a couple of years to get the upgrade but it can be done. I can also assist with other things that we overlook upon ETS. Leave email.

  8. Blair Marsh says

    I would like someone to help men get my benefits and possibly discharge upgraded. I have hearing loss and I was in during the right times to qualify for benefits even though I received a OTH . I would like to to have my discharge upgraded so I can hold my head up high for the 8years I served please someone help me:-(

    • Kara Pringle says

      Hello Blair,
      I am doing some of my homework and decided to look at some comments, then I so your situation about hearing loss. I may not be able to answer back to you, but let me run this by you. In our veterans meeting last week, one of the veteran told me that, a claims officer that helps veterans get their benefits, was puzzle why some many veterans claims kept being kicked back when filing for hearing loss/tinnitus.
      You are not going to believe this but, he said, he she told him, when the terminology tinnitus was first mention and filed before hearing loss, that the claim went through. He said, she found out, it was all about the wording what gets claims through. In other words, which words that you put claim in first before the other one that is related or similarly to it.
      So, all I can say is just try it,
      Kara

      • Timothy Hickey says

        I currently have a hearing loss/tinnitus claim in VIA a local VSO. Many issues are part of the claim but back in 1988, a doctor at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, N.Y. wrote me up for “left ear drum damage related to field duty with the Field Artillery”. Years later, and after being told by that doctor the issue will only worsen over time (which it has) I now have severe tinnitus in both ears (more prevalent in my left bad ear) and a 50% loss of hearing in my left ear and this is also documented by past V.A. administrated audiology tests. WHY is it taking so long for them to make a final decision???

  9. Lisa Biesecker says

    I contacted my local american legion and the vfw and was told by both places by confused sounding individuals that they had never heard of the vfw or american legion helping veterans to fill out a disability claim or anything even closely related. They both recommended me contacting my local veterans affairs office, which is who sent me to the vfw and american legion in the 1st place. I get out of the military and im STILL getting a run around.

    • Annie Warbucks says

      Lisa, I have called or messaged or emailed at 6 of these non-profit organizations and have gotten the same answers at every one! No one can tell me ANYTHING that I haven’t discovered on my own, and I even called one where the older gentleman that answered said that the other guy that cooperated with him was sick in bed and then took my number down, Only to Never hear back from them! In my OPINION most of these organizations are a joke! I don’t understand why they’re allowed to be linked to official government websites and advertise great things only to turn out to be (IN MY OPINION) fraudulent! Good luck everyone, thank you for your service and I hope you all get the help you deserve!

  10. james Saunders II says

    Hello, Is there a VA compensation rating for Lung Cancer? Am ex submarine sailor having served on subs built in the 1940,s. I Have VA rating of 30% for asbestosis in both lungs. Now it appears some form of lung cancer is there. Of course during the “days gone by” everyone smoked and had to breath the recycled air in the old boats. Before bothering the VSO and paperwork, just asking. Hope youu will reply. Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello James, Thank you for contacting me. Yes, there should be a rating for lung cancer if you can provide a causal link to your military service (which it sounds like you should be able to based on your service).

      That said, I am not able to offer any specific claims advice. I recommend speaking with a veterans benefits counselor at the VA or with a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, etc. They have counselors who offer free claims assistance on a case by case basis.

      • Randy Reitan says

        Hey James, Randy here from Manning, SC. I’m a retired USAF veteran and just wanted you to know you can also go to your local County Veteran affairs Office. I use the VFW as my representation and he is at the VA Regional Office in Columbia, SC. They might be able to get the info you need and the point of contact for your area at 1-800-827-1000.

  11. Coast Guard Johnny says

    I have to admit after dealing with the DAV since 1996 I have had success throughout the VA claims process. The key to disability and getting rated is first off having that recorded injury or injuries while active. Secondly from the day you leave the service you have to go to the VA hospital, for everything and as often as you can. If you have a disability for lower back injury, even if it’s just bad enough to slow you down for the day, go to the emergency room. The favorite line between the VSO officer’s and the Vet’s, ” don’t be a Superman” I’m going on 18 year’s and started at 10% and am currently 50% combined. Remember also, unless you’re rated “permanently” disabled they can take it away whenever they want for 20 year’s. Go to the VA and don’t miss your appointments, and if you can get a private doctor to provide documentation that your service injuries are affecting your job, or overall life, that carries a lot more weight than the VA documentation. Think about anyone who might have known you or worked with you when you where injured, that is still someone you can make contact with. Buddy letters are also very helpful in the decision making process, but go to the VA, for everything, seriously. 38CFR. Read it know it, that’s the VA rule book.
    Good luck everyone and Happy New Year!!

  12. Joanne Davies says

    My husband has been unable to find Work since his separation in May, due to his PTSD. He has received a 90% disability rating. He received separation pay but half of this was taken up when we were defrauded out of $12k by a rogue contractor and the rest has been covering the mortgage. I have been waiting for 6 months for my green card that still hasn’t arrived so I can’t work either. We will have nothing to live on and lose our home because the VA will withhold his benefits for a year. We don’t have good enough credit to get a loan to pay them back without a shockingly bad interest rate and if we do an equity release on the house we have to find $5k upfront.

    Is there no way of claiming hardship and getting them to set up a more manageable repayment plan? The VA don’t seem to know anything at all whenever we ask them.

  13. ryan hirsch says

    I am a former navy reservist, who had orders to deploy to Iraq, the same month I was in a near fatal motorcycle accident. I was a petty officer3rd class, as an operations specialist. I was hoping that I’m eligible for any type of because of my service to our country. I was also an active member of the navy honor guard, giving honors to navy veterans who had passed away, at the riverside national cemetery. If I’m eligible for any benefits please contact me. I was given a medical discharge.

  14. rick davis says

    my wife and i have fallen on hard times i have small disability payment from the va, she has now become disabled and cannot work, we own our home and would like to apply for a reasonable home equity loan to get us thru these lean times. can you reccomend a institution that would give us a low cost equity loan?

  15. Monique Harden says

    Lets’ say a soldier is receiving retirement pay for 30 years of active duty service, and receiving payment for 70% VA disability rating . The soldier receives full compensation payments for both retirement and VA disability. Can this soldier be awarded CRSC payment as well. Any information is greatly appreciated. I fully understand the CRDP and breakdown of monies; however, I am unable to find a breakdown as it pertains to this scenario.

  16. Bus says

    There are also County and State VSO’s that can help you with your claim free of charge. They maximize your benefits by not only helping you with the federal VA claims process, but also with additional state/local/non-profit veteran benefits that may apply. You can find the closest office to you at this site:

    http://www.va.gov/statedva.htm

    Hope this helps!

    • joe says

      My understanding is that general discharge is eligible for va disability compensation . The only discharge that disqualifies a veteran is a dishonorable discharge is this true

      • Ryan Guina says

        Joe, I believe that is correct, but I always encourage veterans to have a personal benefits review from the VA or a veterans service organization.

        They can review the veteran’s records and provide one on one assistance and provide more accurate information than someone can via email.

        I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  17. Bob Hampton says

    I, through my own fault, (I have TWO agent Orange benefit claims for coverage related to 1) Peripheral Neuropathy and Diabetes, AND Coronary Artery Disease/Ischemic Heart disease and I confused one response, [the disease was not written on the letter they sent to me] for the other, [not I’ve learned they come from two different places!] and did not respond in the period of time they told me to in the letter so they through out 3 YEARS WORTH OF VERY STRESSFUL AND TIME-CONSUMING WORK! I am now appealing that decision of last month!!

    The two VSO I have worked with have been very limited in their abilities, (the first one ******* it up so bad I wanted to CRY! and the second one is very discouraging and pessimistic, (I am a Blue Water Sailor and hope they can make a favorable decision based on the fact that Blue Water Sailor’s WERE accepted for 11 years and that sets a precedent!) and doesn’t seem to want to proceed, [He say’s I’m trying to cheat the system,(?) by asking for consideration based on historical precedent].). The VA has already documented my 3 maladies related to Agent Orange. I made One Wespack cruse to Vietnam and served in 1963-66. HELP, PLEASE!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Bob, I’m sorry to hear about the issues you are having with the VA. I am not an expert in dealing with claims, which is why I listed these organizations on this page. Many of these organizations offer free benefits claims assistance.

      Of course, that doesn’t mean they are all experts in what they do. There are certainly some veterans service officers who are experts and can give you sound advice with a claim. On the other hand, there are others who may not be as well versed in the nuances of filing a claim. I recommend contacting some of these organizations and doing some phone interviews with some claims counselors to see if they might be experienced in your type of claim. Then schedule an appointment to meet with them to get the process started.

      Before calling, make sure you have all your paperwork and documentation ready and organized. Give them the facts about your condition(s), the dates you made the claims, the letter from the VA denying your claim, your medical records, and any other pertinent information you may have. Make sure to keep the originals for yourself (scan them and store them electronically so you can have quick and easy access to copies), and give copies to the benefits claims counselor.

      You may need to make several calls to organizations before you find the right person. But it’s important to put in the time up front, as the right veterans service officer is worth his or her weight in gold. Think of it as though you are a manager conducting job interviews and you are hiring someone for a very important job.

      I hope this is enough to get you started. I wish you the best and thank you for your service!

      • Janie says

        I feel for Bob Hampton, and that is because I can relate. When my husband was released with a less than honorable discharge after 2 Post 9-11 tours, he obviously had symptoms of TBI and PTSD. To this day, he still has issues that he can’t seem to overcome. He has sought treatment and he really needs help. A woman from an agency came to visit with him and fill out paperwork, they filed an appeal to have his discharge upgraded. She gave him hope. Then he went to the VA for his review board hearing and they treated him TERRIBLY! The man who was supposed to walk him through it acted like he was just trying to get money from the system and also acted like he was ‘more of a vet’ because of all his jumps and more years of service. I am so sad for my husband because I see how he suffers from this— it’s hard for him to hold a job, but he cares so much about being an honorable man, and then through the process they really made him feel awful.

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