Editor's Note: Evan Bellville of Rising Fawn submitted this announcement of a veterans benefit forum at American Legion Post 106 on September 7. Open to all veterans and spouses, it is designed to help those who have served obtain what they have earned.
The Veterans Administration can support you and your loved ones in different ways throughout your life. It is a platform developed especially for you based on your military service to our country. Are you aware or in need of you benefits?
The primary categories of support include but are not limited to health care, finances, housing, education, employment and what they refer to as memorialization. The last one most directly includes burial, interment, headstones and markers. You and your spouse can be interred together in a National Cemetery at no cost.
The expanded view of your available benefits can be confusing and require a large learning experience. Imagine you have a new home and absolutely nothing to put into it. Fortunately there is a gigantic department store where everything is available. Where do you begin? What is it that you need first? What is most important?
Entering the VA for the first time can be overwhelming. It helps if you have someone to guide you through the process and guides are available from several sources. At the VA itself there are several levels of guides ranging from volunteers to the top professionals. Don't forget you may have other guides with community support, veterans' organizations and even other veterans. So--take a breath, relax, you can do this.
Keep in mind that like with every growing organization, there is an evolution of programs and things change all the time. It is the same way with the VA. Not everyone is aware of developments and their accuracy can delay things. It is not always easy to keep up to date. For this reason, the professionals are coming to you.
On Saturday, Sept 7, at American Legion Post 106 in Trenton, these professionals will assemble to meet with you and guide you personally. It was brought to their attention that North Georgia and North Alabama veterans may not be aware that they can utilize the Tennessee VA resources in Chattanooga closer to where they reside. This option is the veterans' decision. And be assured, you are as welcome there as you would be in Atlanta or Birmingham. That said, it will primarily be Tennessee VA professionals represented at this event. They are taking the time, making the effort to speak to you directly about your benefits.
What can you expect at this event? A forum consisting of a slide presentation will begin promptly at 10 a.m. You need to be on time so that you do not miss elements which can benefit you. The full spectrum of VA support will be laid out in an easy-to-follow format. It is an open forum for you to ask questions and get answers as the presentation proceeds. Your question may be valuable to others and we want to answer all we can.
In the presentation hall, other VA professionals representing their area of knowledge will have tables to speak with you on your specific benefit needs. Area Veteran Service Officers (VSO's) with local offices will also be there for individual conferencing with veterans and families. After the event, these individuals can be most valuable to you as you progress through the system.
The inquiries most often made include basic and specialty health care, mental health and long term care. Disability benefits, life insurance, pensions and qualifications are also frequently asked about. How can you use doctors in your own community in the VA system? What training, educational support or job opportunities are available? The answers to these and more can be found at this event.
I recently was made aware of a free veterans' lunch honoring your service to be held September 6 at Trenton United Methodist Church, 12500 North Main St., Trenton. An RSVP (acknowledgement of your intent to attend) is requested by calling (706) 657-6170. Bring a guest.
This is a great time to begin letting veterans in the North Georgia and North Alabama area know about the upcoming Veterans Benefits Forum. There are business-card-sized reminders available that can be handed to veterans in the area by businesses, churches, civic organizations, veterans' organizations and supportive individuals. You can get a supply by calling me, Evan Bellville, at (423) 316-0148.
Posters are being developed by American Legion Post 106 members for display in public areas. Let’s get the word out to all veterans--many are not aware of the benefits available to them.
You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to make the most of your life. Veterans don't leave other veterans behind and you shouldn't leave benefits you have earned behind, either. Come and see what is available to you. The Veterans Administration exists because of your selfless service.