Compensating Our Vets
If you feel that you may have a claim for disability while serving in the U.S. armed forces you may have a right to compensation. This right may compare to workmen's compensation or Social Security disability in civilian life.
The basic document that you must have and be able to show is called DD Form 214 and titled "Report of Separation from the Armed Forces." If you have this form on your first visit and you are working with a disabled American Veterans District Service Officer (DSO) or other veteran's service agent, "if you do it right," there should be only one visit.
An appointment is necessary: if after a thorough search for your DD Form 214, you cannot locate it, all is not lost. A DSO can obtain a copy for you. However, this can cause a delay, sometimes lengthy in your compensation claim. So be thorough in your search and bring copies of other documents about your military service with you. They can help in your claim.
The DAV has been a no-charge service to disabled veterans since the 1920s and many times family members and widows file claims.
The DSO is highly and thoroughly trained, however, on occasion a problem or question will arise that needs further assistance. A phone call to "Team Boston" in the JKF Building to our office to a regional service officer is available.
Our chapter "55" in Springfield services West Springfield, Agawam and Westfield.
A phone call is all that is needed to our local Springfield office to start your claim. Call 737-5167 and state that you wish to file a claim with the DAV. Again, you have to have an appointment.
The Springfield office of chapter "55," is located at the Vets Center, Northgate Plaza, 1985 Main St., across from the Republican Newspapers office. To help further to locate our office there is an American flag above our main entrance. Plenty of free parking is available.
The senior DSO officer you will probably work with is Michael Granger. Bobby Pickell is very capable and works with Michael. They are available Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4p.m. They are assigned to other offices the remainder of the week.
A world of advice. The Veteran's Administration is not in business to award compensation and give out money. You must be able to justify your claim. Claims for compensation going back to World War 2 and before are being processed. Now that we are in a war against terrorism claims are piling up. The V.A. is swamped, and they admit it. You must be patient and ready to justify your claim.
A final note: V.A. compensation money for veterans is tax free.
Bob Parsons M/Sgt USAF/Ret
Chapter 55, Public Relations
Disabled American Veterans