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November 2014: Myths and truths of VA benefits


Published: November 26, 2014 • By: Don Parsons

Myth: Veteran benefits are only for those who were wounded in combat or have lost limbs.
Truth: Every veteran who serves and is honorably discharged is eligible for benefits.
Eligibility is categorized by types of injuries and disabilities incurred in combat or while serving in the military. Injuries and disabilities incurred do not have to be related to combat. There are many injuries and disabilities that are related to automobile accidents, exposure to toxins, asbestos, high decibel noises, falls, training accidents, etc.

Myth: I have to go to a VA facility or a veteran representative to file for benefits for pension or compensation.
Truth: Any veteran can fill out and file the proper forms for specific benefits. Any veteran can Google the VA forms. These forms can be filled out on the computer. The forms contain instructions on how to fill out and where to send them.

Caution: There are many individuals who seek to help veterans complete their forms; however they may not be properly trained and can make many mistakes, which can lead to longer, unnecessary delays to processing their claim.

By entrusting your County Veterans Services office, you are getting help from trained individuals who have helped many veterans accurately complete the required forms for their claim and have a higher success rate on determining service connected claims.

It is highly recommended veterans go to the County Veterans Services Office for assistance.

The Colusa County Veterans Service office is located at 251 E Webster St in Colusa. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday, closed for lunch 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Myth: The majority of all veterans are receiving the benefits they earned and deserve. Most veterans are enrolled in the VA Medical System.
Truth: There are thousands – a very conservative estimate – of veterans who have no idea they have any benefits. It is highly recommended that all veterans register into the VA Medical System, especially those who are getting up in age.

`I humbly ask those who are now receiving benefits to talk to those who they know are veterans. Encourage them to look into possible benefits they are eligible to receive. I urge family members to encourage their veteran family members to visit a veteran’s services office to find out if they are eligible for benefits. All veterans should let their family members know where a copy of their discharge certificate (DD214) is located at and also check into their VA burial benefits.

Remember, the Colusa County Veteran Services office is here to serve veterans and their dependents. There are many state and federal benefits available to veterans and their dependents that they have earned.

Don Parsons, retired Army, is the Asst. Veterans Service Officer for Colusa County. Send your questions to the Veterans Service Office, 251 E Webster St. Colusa, Ca 95932 and the phone number is (530)458-0388 or email don.parsons@colusadhhs.org