Organizations help veterans file Veterans Affairs claims - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Organizations help veterans file Veterans Affairs claims

(WTVM) - More than one million veterans live in Georgia and Alabama. With Veteran's Day coming up on Tuesday, Nov. 11, News Leader 9's Tyrone McCoy looks into the resources offered to vets across the valley every day.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post and the Chattahoochee Veteran's Association assist veterans with V.A. claims and direct those vets to who or what they need.

Veteran's Affairs offices are cracking down nation-wide on outstanding claims and vets waiting for benefits. Local organizations are joining the effort, offering service members resources to get the treatment and benefits they have earned.

"We're here as a membership to bring the soldiers in that have come back from war now and get them involved in the community here at the VFW," said 
Sidney Smith, VFW Post 665 Commander.

Smith estimates that VFW Post 665 sees around a thousand soldiers each month and helps in uniform and their spouses process and understand VA claims. Smith adds that they are just a small part of the Chattahoochee Veteran's Association.

"We try to find out what do they need. Our job is to assist with claims, advise them about claims and to help them to go to the right sources," explained Arthur Porter, service officer for Disabled American Veterans.

Bringing more than one thousand veterans, each year, from across the Chattahoochee Valley to Columbus for help with their Veteran's Affairs claims or other resources.

It's an effort Secretary of Veteran's Affairs, Robert McDonald, announced would take a massive department restructuring. This comes months after more than a hundred thousand vets waiting for health care. As a result 5600 VA employees are facing disciplinary action and the development of a VA-wide customer service office. Service officers here in the Valley say they'll continue providing options to get vets benefits on the eve of Veterans Day.

"You don't have to walk away mad and say 'well, I'm just through with VA. They can just keep that --" No! You're entitled to it and we're here to assist you," 
Porter added. 

In celebration of Veteran's Day, VFW post 665 will honor one of the last, living Merrill's Marauders-- the first group of ranger's at 5 p-m. and have a veteran's program from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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