Government Neighbors

Veterans Shouldn’t Pay For Assistance To Access Benefits

Veterans salute during a 2013 event. Credit: Airman 1st Class Gustavo/U.S. Air Force

Officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs warned those who have served that they should never have to pay for assistance to apply for veterans’ benefits.

Both state and federal laws offer protections to provide free advice and assistance for all to access their veterans’ benefits.

“Pennsylvania is home to nearly 800,000 veterans, and all deserve the benefits they have earned through their military service,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Unfortunately, there are still some in our communities who attempt to profit by assisting veterans to sign up for their benefits. Veterans should never have to pay to apply. Pennsylvania has numerous accredited veteran service officers available who are eager to help veterans prepare claims and apply for benefits free of charge. These are experienced and certified professionals who are well-trained and provide great advice to veterans.”

More than 200 veterans service officers in the state work with county veterans affairs offices and several veterans service organizations.

Veteran service officers are able to provide veterans and their dependents free assistance to identify, determine eligibility for and apply for a wide range of benefits on the local, state and federal levels.

Below are some of the things veteran service officers can help with:

  • Payment of burial allowances;
  • Ensuring grave markers and headstones are properly requested and placed;
  • The Disabled Veterans Real Estate Tax Exemption Program;
  • Veterans emergency assistance;
  • Blind and paralyzed veterans pensions;
  • The Education Gratuity Program;
  • Service connected disability and non-service connected disability pensions;
  • Federal health care benefits; and
  • Survivor benefits.

The Bucks County Office of Military and Veterans Affairs can be reached at 215-345-3307. The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has their website with more information about veteran benefits.

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