Transitions With Jean Blog

Veterans must seek out individual benefits

November 4, 2018

Veterans, do you wonder what benefits are out there for you and how you can get them? Perhaps you have tried to find out, but it was all so complicated.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was someone out there who would look up benefits specifically for you; what benefits you earned based on your DD214? While you’re at it, let’s wish they would explain how to apply for your earned benefits; heck, let’s even wish that they would help fill out the forms. Finally, wouldn’t it be great if this help was free?

Meet your county Veterans Service Office.

I chatted with David Holst, Outagamie County Veterans Service Officer. The sign jokingly put on his door by his staff says “One-Stop Shop”. That is his goal.

He explained that many veterans are unaware of what services are available to them. He said it is “like wordsmithing: The right terms and the right forms in the right order trigger benefits, otherwise it doesn’t happen.” Here is someone in your corner who speaks the language.

He said people talk with their friends and someone says, “I qualify for this benefit, you should get it, too.” It doesn’t work like that.

Your benefits are based on your service alone; everybody is as unique as a snowflake. You could have identical twins go into the exact same unit and come out with different benefits.

Holst encourages you to let Veterans Services help. “Our services are free. We even help you fill out the paperwork and we’ll send it in if you want. We’ll make a copy for you. I’ll even be your secretary, if you need me. The forms can be hard to understand. You provide us with the information and we’ll put it on your form. You verify and sign it. It is your claim, we are here to help you.”

Don’t confuse your county Veterans Service Office with the federal Veteran’s Administration (VA). “We are not employed by the VA.” Holst explained. “We are accredited with the VA and we work with the VA, but we do not work for the VA. We are employed by you, the taxpayers of this county.”

There is a Veterans Service office in each county of Wisconsin.

The VA doesn’t come looking for you to give you benefits. Even if you go to the VA clinic on a regular basis, you won’t necessarily know what benefits are available to you.

If you go to your Veterans Service Office, they will help you. It is what they do.

Call your County Veterans Service Office and make an appointment to do a benefits review. It only takes one hour. They will explain all the benefits that you have earned: health care, education, pension, compensation… there are many types of benefits. Once you have your list, you can decide if you want to pursue them. Maybe you don’t need them now, but down the road you may want to explore them.

Another note: Veterans Day is a time to honor our veterans. Tell your children and grandchildren about a veteran in your family and teach them to say thank you.






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