Navigating and filing paperwork for benefits available to veterans, their spouses and children can be a complex experience that can potentially overwhelm many individuals.
In Plano, the small staff at Collin County Veterans Services (CCVS) work to make the process a bit easier and fulfill the department’s mission, “to serve the veteran by providing exceptional assistance, guidance and representation in the application process of VA and state benefits for which they are eligible, advocating for the veteran and their dependents.”
Gary Jackson, Veteran Service Officer at CCVS, said that to date, including walk-ins, phone calls and appointments, they have assisted over 7,600 veterans this year and counting.
“The majority of veterans coming into our office are seeking assistance with filing for service-connected disability claims and don’t know where to start or have tried the process on their own with poor results,” Jackson said.
The CCVS office is a department of the, and funded by, Collin County government, not the Veterans Administration. As veteran’s advocates, Jackson and two other staff members — another Veteran Service Officer and one Assistant Veteran Service Officer — help residents navigate veteran benefits, survivor benefits, burial and funeral benefits and education benefits.
“If coming into our office for assistance with a claim, appeal or survivor benefits you will more likely meet with one of the service officers,” Jackson said. “If [you are] needing a quick questioned answered, wanting to request records or file an Intent to File those or similar requests may be handled by our Assistant Service Officer.”
When it comes to services, Jackson said they “definitely help bridge the gap between federal or state benefits and the veteran.”
Veteran benefits include disability compensation, pensions, appeal process, specially adapted housing, Veterans Land Board home and land improvement loans, Texas Veterans Portal, Texas State Veterans Home, vocational rehabilitation and employment, debt waivers, obtaining military awards or decorations, obtaining lost military records and discharge upgrades.
For those looking to obtain survivor’s benefits, Jackson said the most common survivor benefits, among others, include Dependency Indemnity Compensation, pension benefits and burial benefits.
“The paperwork required can be confusing or overwhelming and that’s why our office exists,” Jackson said, “to help that veteran, spouse or child navigate the process from beginning to end.”
For the full story, see the Nov. 9 issue of The Wylie News.