VA holding claims clinic for local veterans

Published 11:12 am Monday, August 1, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

The federal Department of Veterans Affairs will hold a Rural Veterans Claims Clinic on Aug. 9 to assist local residents with filing claims and let them know about other benefits.

The event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Clanton Recreation Center, 305 Lay Dam Road in Clanton.

“Holding claims clinics helps increase veterans’ access to information about available benefits, get answers to questions about their pending claims and receive assistance with filing claims,” said Wendy Cosby, public affairs officer in the Montgomery Regional Benefits Office. “Claims clinics provide an opportunity to overcome barriers such as travel distances and technology that could impede veterans from seeking out the benefits they have earned. Providing a venue for veterans to interact in person, in their own community helps foster a personal and positive environment for veterans.”

Talking to someone from the VA ensures that a veteran knows about all of the benefits they are entitled to.

Assistance will be offered in filing claims for VA disability compensation as well as vocational readiness and employment and filing appeals.

“Veterans often have questions about the claims process and being able to speak with an experienced benefits counselor provides the veteran with a real time resource to answer questions,” Cosby said. “This not only provides good customer service to the veteran but may reduce the time it takes a veteran to file a claim or get benefits they have earned.”

Local veterans will also be able to get information about healthcare benefits from a Birmingham VA Healthcare System representative and information about state specific benefits from an Alabama Department of Veteran Affairs at the event.

Benefits are available to veterans regardless of age.

Veterans that have become disabled through an injury or disease while serving are eligible for additional benefits, such as adapted housing grants and additional insurance.

“Compensation may also be paid for post-service disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service,” Cosby said. “Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.”

She said the VA is thankful for help from Clanton Mayor Jeff Mims and Debbie Street in coordinating this event.

Those unable to attend the event can speak to a benefits counselor by scheduling a meeting at Options for meeting in person or online are available.

Cosby said veterans also have access to “crisis counselors specially trained in assisting veterans” through the Veterans Crisis Hotline by calling 988 and pressing one or by texting 838255.