Providing a service to a veteran who is in need of help? Regardless of what your specialty there are a few questions you should ask the veteran in order to ensure the veteran is also receiving the benefits to which they are entitled based on their service to our country. Here are some of those questions. A Quick Background to These Questions
For the purpose of this article we are just dealing with healthcare benefits and veteran related support activities.
As a veteran they are entitled to a variety of benefits that fall into the following categories: Medical from the VA or DoD Other Benefits from the VA or DoD Veterans Support Organizations Social Security Support Organizations that provide services to veterans and others
The following documents relating to benefits to which the veteran is entitled (already obtaining) should be in the veteran's possession. DD-214: a military service members separation from active duty that by many benchmarks defines the individual now as a veteran. VA Benefit Rulings: whether it's a service connection disability, a service related pension, or other VA benefits, in receiving the benefit of the veteran would have received what is commonly referred to as the Benefit Rulings Letter. Medical Documents: and not just VA generated medical documents, the veteran should maintain his own file copies of all medical related services rendered reports. Some Questions to Ask
Do you have a copy of your DD 214?
This document, Separation from Active Duty, is the primary document necessary in order to receive a majority of all veteran benefits. Those providing benefits will inevitably ask for a copy of the veteran's DD 214. This includes burial benefits. Did you retire or were you retired from the military?
If the veteran was discharged from active service their future health care benefits fall under the auspices of the Department of Veterans Affairs. If they retired or were retired -- say for medical reasons -- from active duty they have future healthcare benefits provided by the Department of Defense by what is known as TRICARE. Are you presently receiving any VA or military monthly stipend?
Often times a veteran will be receiving a monthly stipend and neglect to mention this. The reason for which they are receiving this stipend could have significant impact on the services you are providing the veteran. Were you awarded a Purple Heart or were you a POW?
In either case the manner in which the veteran is processed in the VA system is different from those who did not receive the Purple Heart or were POWs. Were you injured during your military service such that at a minimum you required medical assistance?
All too often an injury that would entitle a veteran to a service connection award is overlooked or in fact miss-explained as not being entitled to a service connection award. Are you registered with the VA Hospital in your area?
If (s)he has recently left active duty, then they should check in with their local DOD Transition Clerk. Many veterans having registered some time ago but not having used their VA healthcare privileges in some time will find that while their name is still in the system is not considered "active." To stay active, a veteran should have at least one activity a year (E. G., an annual physical). Are you a member of a Veterans Service Organization?
As a member on a regular basis they would receive information concerning the benefits to which they are entitled. Do you use the services of a Veteran Service Officer?
If they do, that individual would be a source of information concerning the veteran. As the Veterans Service Officer's duties include filing claims for veterans, if they are using the services of a Veterans Service Officer it is highly likely that a claim for some benefit to which they may be entitled has been made.