VA steps up effort to alert veterans about benefits
Forty percent of America’s younger veterans – those who have served since the 9/11 attacks – say they have little or no understanding of the benefits due them, despite efforts over recent years to match returning soldiers with the help and services they need.
An analysis of Department of Veterans Affairs survey data found that more than half of all veterans say they have little or no understanding of assistance that ranges from access to the VA’s well-regarded medical system to lifetime payments for disabilities suffered during military service to access to education, life insurance and home loan programs.
One major change will come this week when a new law will mandate all departing service members go through a series of detailed benefits sessions. Until now, participation in such sessions varied by service and was often optional.
The VA had been reaching 150,000 service members per year; under the mandatory, beefed-up, sessions, that’s expected to rise to 307,000.
Read more in the Sacramento Bee about McClatchy Newspapers’ analysis of what veterans understand about their benefits, how participation varies by state and the VA’s outreach efforts.
“We want to accept them into the VA. We want to help them,” said Joseph Curtin, who recently became the VA’s director of outreach.
Read an earlier American Homecomings post about part of the new approach: New ‘reverse boot camp’ to help those exiting military