The following are opinions of Neil Lichtman – Founder of KAV.  They should be considered as the thoughts of one person, who is NOT a legal, financial, medical or mental health professional.

It is amazing how benefits varies so greatly from location to location. For instance, when I inquired last, home mortgage assistance in New York was about a $40,000 guarantee.  In California it was well over $600,000.  I understand that Texas is as good.  And, both states offer educational benefits to the Children of Vets as well.  And more.

One thing that does NOT change as you move across the country is that you should NOT file claims for compensation or benefits, to ANY governmental entity by yourself.  That is like an amateur going up against a bureaucracy.   And you should NEVER pay anyone to help you.

One of the greatest secrets, is that in 28 states there are Veterans Service Offices. While they come in different names, every one has counselors who are certified by the VA to fight for your rights and get you every service and dime you have pre-earned through your service.  And they don’t just know how to help you professionally with the VA, they also know the state and local benefits.  As of a newsletter I saw in November of 2018, the VA now even recognizes the effectiveness and efficiency of VSOs and suggests that veterans have their VSO do their claims for their fastest response time.

I am now a 100% permanently disabled vet, due to an agent orange cancer of the spine, among other issues.  Even with the help of my VSO and the American Legion in NY in 2010, it took about a year to get certified.  But things have changed.

I am now in Santa Clara, CA. The VSO here, doesn’t file paper, so it can’t get lost.  From January thru October 2018 for instance, 95% of their claims were filed on-line with a 94% approval rate, in just an average of 6 weeks!!!  And that was on over 5,000 claims.

These are the same people who listened to my mother-in-law, the widow of a Non-Combat, WWII vet who had never even applied for benefits, and at 92, got her over $1,800 a month.

So, your FIRST STEP should be a visit with your VSO.  To find them just Click Here and put your zip code in the box.

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 at https://www.knowavet.org/before-during-and-after-a-medical-appointment/and Choosing a Medical Service Provider, at https://www.knowavet.org/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.  A VSO counselor https://www.knowavet.org/office-of-vet-services/  may be able to help you find them.

While we strongly urge you to take advantage of all you have earned through your service, we understand there are many reasons why you may prefer non-VA service providers. Here are some places to start:

These are with the caveat above about working with professionals such as VSO counselors or counselors from your local VFW, or VVA, or DAV, etc.

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Learn more about what it feels like to live your best life. Go to our Self-Help Page to explore other issues that can bring you "All The Way Home".

Also, check out the Claims and Appeals topic to maximize compensation and benefits for yourself AND your loved ones.

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