Discovering Your Benefits: Utilizing the VSO

The red stamps of “URGENT,” “PAST DUE,” and “FINAL NOTICE” yell at Kim as she sits at the dining room table, flipping through a stack of bills, trying to figure out how they are going to get paid.

“Ahhhh!!!!” she yells sweeping the pile of papers onto the floor. Ever since retiring from the Army the bills are never ending.

Kim grabs the pill bottle from the cabinet knowing it may be a little early for her next pain pill, but stress seems to cause the pain in her leg to get worse.  She pauses, losing herself in thought as she runs her fingers over the shrapnel wound, she got in Iraq. The sound of doorbell chime snaps her out of it.

“Oh great, what now,” she thinks to herself. Limping to the door she swings it open without checking who it is. 

“Kim, are you alright?” her neighbor Greg asks.

She turns around and Greg follows her to the dining room.  Collapsing in the dining room chair, she motions to the bills scattered on the floor. 

Greg glances at the mess of papers, noticing doctors’ names and the red past due notices, “Don’t you get money from the government since you retired from the Army to help with this?”

“I wish,” Kim says. 

“I think I heard my friend Lewis say the VSO helped him get benefits after he retired from the Military. Did you want me to help you look and see what is available?” Greg asks as he takes out his phone.

His thumbs type a few things in the browser, “Oh look here is an article on benefits from KnowAVet on Financial Issues

Financial difficulties can completely disrupt our lives and make us feel hopeless. Are you struggling with finances and unaware of how to access your Veteran benefits, or if you have earned more?

As a U.S. Veteran, your sacrifice for this country may entitle you to certain financial assistance programs. Wartime Veterans under the age of 65 years old may qualify for a Veterans Disability Pension, also called a VA Pension, if they demonstrate financial need as the result of a service-related disability.

For Wartime Veterans* who are over the age of 65 years old, VA Pensions can be granted based on financial need without the presence of a disability.  They average $10,800 per year and they are not a loan.  They are a benefit that you or your loved one Earned through your service and they also cover Surviving Spouses.  

*And let’s be clear.  That means the Country was at war not necessarily you.  You could have been stateside all the time.

For more information about the VA Pension such as eligibility and how to apply, as well as information on the VA Survivors Pension, which offers financial assistance to the surviving spouses and dependent children of wartime Veterans, you can contact your local Veteran Service Office (VSO) or visit the VA’s website.

The Veterans Disability Pension is just one of the benefits that Veterans can qualify for. To learn more about the different benefits, their qualifications, and how to apply, go to look at the 80+ topics you may have earned help for put in your zip code and contact your local VSO. The VSO can help you discover what benefits you qualify for and navigate the application process. If you do not have a VSO in your county, you may be able to go through any VSO within your state.

Be good to yourself and take a look at this prior issue of Know A Vet NEWS with an article why you should NOT go to the VA to file a claim.   In our upcoming articles we will discuss information on the different Veteran assistance programs, as well as resources to help guide you through the process of accessing your benefits. In the meantime, make sure to Subscribe to KnowAVet Life for FREE to get notifications for our upcoming articles.

Non-VA Local Help

Know A Vet? presents this information and these national resource directories, not as a recommendation of any specific service or provider, but as a starting point for your own research.

Please feel free to use the check sheets Before, During and After the Medical Appointment and Choosing a Medical Service Provider to help you in your search for the best help for your individual circumstances.

In addition, there may be other federal, state and local government or private resources for your individual needs.

VA, Government, and Organization Help

Know A Vet? presents this information and these national resource directories, not as a recommendation of any specific service or provider, but as a starting point for your own research.

Clicking here will bring you to a database of other VA services you can locate by zip code.

Please also check out our page on Filing Claims. We recommend that you do NOT file claims on your own.  If you do not file exactly the way the VA looks for information, it can take literally years for your claim to go back and forth before approval or denial.

The other resources listed, such as your local Veterans Service Office  (names vary by county), VSO counselor, VFW, etc., will help you determine what you are eligible for and file correctly for results in as little as a few weeks.

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