Veterans' Corner: Most still not aware of benefits

July 21, 2013 at 2:21 a.m.

Frank Torres, officer for Victoria Disabled American Veteran's Chapter 169.

Frank Torres, officer for Victoria Disabled American Veteran's Chapter 169.

The Disabled American Veterans provide all disabled veterans and their dependents the best service and most professional claims representation available from any source.

Keeping this in mind, it is imperative for us to reach out to those who need our assistance.

More than half of the veterans we service at the Disabled American Veterans Service Office say they have little or no understanding of the benefits due them despite efforts by the Veterans Administration over recent years to match returning soldiers with the help and services they need.

An analysis survey data found the younger veterans - those who served in the post-911 war period - are better versed in their benefits. But even among those veterans, less than 50 percent say they have little or no understanding of their benefits.

During the past five years, the area DAV Service Office has had an influx of Vietnam veterans, some Korean War veterans and a few World War II veterans. We think that it is because of the recent efforts by the Department of Defense and the VA to provide more information that we are seeing more veterans (of all wars) seeking VA benefits.

We encourage all the veterans to seek information and to apply for the benefits that they might be eligible for.

Veterans must know that all veterans who served and were honorably discharged earned and deserve the benefits they are eligible for.

In the past eight years, the DAV Service Office has serviced more than 1,000 veterans. The DAV Chapter 169 services the Victoria area and the seven surrounding counties.

America's veterans are eligible for a range of benefits, from access to the VA's well-regarded medical system to lifetime payments for disabilities suffered during military service to access to education, life insurance and home loan programs.

We are seeing more young veterans using their education benefits. We encourage all veterans to take advantage of this great benefit.

Unfortunately, we are also learning that there are veterans with negative regard for anything that has to do with veterans affairs. We invite these veterans to come and visit with us at the DAV Service Office. We would love the opportunity to share with them and inform them of their benefits and help them fill out the proper forms to register into the system and/or file for any benefits that they may be eligible for. We want them to know that the officers at the DAV Service Office - Martin Garcia, Sam Phillips, Mike Prindle, James Wagar and Frank Torres - are veterans serving veterans and that "We got their 6 (back)."

The area DAV Service Office is open and ready to serve our veterans from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

We are located at 120 Main St. in the Texas Workforce Commission building in downtown Victoria and can be reached at 361-578-0341 ext. 247.

Frank Torres is an officer for Victoria Disabled American Veterans Chapter 169 and offers military benefit information and advice for Victoria and surrounding counties. He may be reached at 361-564-7415.



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