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 nor mental health professional.

It is amazing how benefits vary 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. Both states also offer educational benefits to the children of Vets as well as other benefits.

One thing that does NOT change as you move across the country is that you should NOT file claims for compensation nor benefits, to ANY governmental entity, by yourself.  That is like an amateur going up against a bureaucracy.   Also, NEVER pay anyone to help you.

One of the greatest secrets is that in 28 states there are County run 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 benefit and dime you have pre-earned through your service.  They don’t just know how to help you with the VA, they also know the state and local benefits.   I saw a newsletter dated November 2018 that said 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 files electronically so the paperwork can’t get lost.  From January thru October 2018 for instance, 95% of their claims were filed online with a 94% approval rate in just an average of 6 weeks!!!  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.  She got over $1800 a month at age 92.

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


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 Choosing a Medical Service Provider, at, 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  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, VVA, 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.

It's your turn to get your best life back! You EARNED it with your service!