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Veterans' Corner column: Help available to get benefits

By BY FRANK TORRES
Feb. 2, 2014 at 10:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 1, 2014 at 8:02 p.m.


The Disabled American Veterans Chapter 169 Victoria Service Office assists veterans and their families each year.

Hundreds of veterans live in the seven counties that we service: Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Lavaca and Victoria.

We operate offices in Victoria, Port Lavaca and Hallettsville.

The telephone for Victoria is 361-578-0341, ext. 247; for Port Lavaca, 361-746-0561; and Hallettsville, 361-648-8221.

Seven certified service officers are in the Victoria DAV Chapter 169. This year, we will increase that number to 11 and will be opening two more offices, in Kenedy and Yorktown.

We will give you more information on these two offices as they become operational.

All veterans service officers volunteer their services and do not get paid for their work. Annual recertification is required for all service officers to ensure that they are up to date with all regulation changes.

The Disabled American Veterans are dedicated to serve the families and dependents and all veterans with anything other than dishonorable discharge.

Even though we are serving many veterans, too many still are not aware of the benefits that they may be eligible to receive or that they have earned. We are experiencing many issues with the "warrior mentality" that causes some veterans to think that some other veteran needs the help more than them. We can assure those veterans that they are not taking away benefits from other veterans. All veterans have the same benefits, and those benefits are dispensed according to the individual needs, situation and circumstances of each veteran.

Many veterans get discharged, and they just get on with their lives, provide for themselves and their families and forget about their benefits or never knew they had benefits. They only think about Veterans Affairs benefits when someone tells them about them or after they retire from their jobs or service related medical conditions start to flare up.

We encourage all veterans to visit their local DAV service officer as soon as they get discharged to find out what VA benefits they may be eligible for.

Too many young veterans are being discharged with traumatic brain injury or with post-traumatic stress disorder and are not seeking VA medical assistance. We want them to know that the VA is there to treat and care for them and help them overcome those issues.

We are in the Texas Workforce Commission building at 120 S. Main St. in downtown Victoria. Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Frank Torres is an officer for Victoria Disabled American Veterans' Chapter 169 and offers military benefit information and advice for Victoria and surrounding counties.

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