What Every Veteran Needs To Know: Advocacy - Part 9 of 9

Written by veterans  |  14. December 2007

In the first of this series of nine we introduce some specific answers to general questions often asked and just as often misunderstood. In Part Two we jumped into one of the "meatiest" of topics, VA Health Care. In Part Three we pulled back a little bit and looked at the overall "other" Federal VA Benefits picture. In part Four we dived back into the "details" as we looked at Counseling & Support. In Part Five we looked at Housing, in Part Six Education, and in Part Seven Employment. In Part Eight we looked at Burial Benefits. Today, in the final part of this series we provide you with access information regarding organizations that provide General Assistance & Advocacy. General Assistance & Advocacy Town of Oyster Bay Veterans Services Division Telephone: (516) 733-8414 -- Fax: (516) 733-8415 -- Email: veterans@oysterbay-ny.gov New York State Division of Veterans' Affairs Telephone: (888) 838-7697 or (888)-VETS-NYS Website: http://www.veterans.state.ny.us Locate a State or County Veteran Service Officer: Website: http://www.veterans.state.ny.us/ofcs.htm New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs Website: http://www.dmna.state.ny.us Directory of National Veterans Service Organizations Website: http://www.va.gov/vso Local Veteran Service Organizations American Legion http://www.legion.org Blinded Veterans Association http://www.bva.org Disabled American Veterans http://www.dav.org Military Order of the Purple Heart http://www.purpleheart.org Paralyzed Veterans of America http://www.pva.org United Spinal Association http://www.unitedspinal.org Veterans of Foreign Wars http://www.vfw.org Veterans of Modern Warfare http://www.modernveterans.com/ Vietnam Veterans of America http://www.vva.org This Week's Not Commented on Topic - One Step Forward, More Than Two Steps... ATTORNEY'S CAN NOW REPRESENT VETERANS, IF THEY CAN FIND SOMEONE WILLING TO TALK TO THEM -- (from an attorney to a national veterans help columnist) I thought you might find this story of complete VA incompetence that recently happened to me... unbelievable, if you did not know better. I called the VA RO [VA Regional Office] on a case of mine and asked to speak to someone about the case. I explained I was the attorney of record and that they had all my forms. They know this because they sent me the c-file. They told me they can't talk to me about the case because I am not the veteran. That is bad enough but then I had the veteran call and they told him they could not talk to him about the case because he had a lawyer. I called back told my story and the woman on the phone actually said to me that I would have to talk to Congress to get rules changed before I could talk to anyone. She then said, "That is why we tell veterans not to get lawyers." and stopped abruptly realizing she should not have said that. It is stupid things like this that make the VA process so slow. I don't think the VA is ready for the army of lawyers that will begin to enter this process and change the way they do business. I used to think SSA was run poorly but they are a finely tuned machine compared to the VA. --- Regards, Walt Schmidt

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