With Memorial Day a few days away, it’s important veterans know what benefits are available to them and their families and preplan.
Your local County Veterans Service Office (CVSO) is designed in every county to help veterans and their families with all of their needs and navigating the VA benefits available to them.
Adam Flood with La Crosse County Veterans Services, and Robert Thoen from the Houston County Veterans Services joined Mid-West Family stations this week to share what benefits are available and encourage Veterans to pre-plan.
The first step is usually to figure out what benefits are available.
“As people kind of move on through the life we start first with education, then start with home loans, slowly move into health care. We start to move into end of life care, and then finally, we end with afterlife care or plans,” Flood told 95.7 The Rock.
Thoren added when a Veteran passes away, “there’s a lot of benefits, or potential for a lot of benefits to be there. Everything from the marker to a grave site or to monetary reimbursement for this time in that person’s life.”
That’s one of many things that your local CVSO can assist with for Veterans and families.
“I think some of the Veterans just omit looking at the right time and they may find out a little bit later,” Flood told WIZM’s Mike Hayes, “and that’s where our offices come in. Just give us a call. We’ll help navigate your current situation and not have you forego some of those benefits until later in life.”
Thoen wants Veterans and their families to know that today’s VA has put in a lot of work to make improvements, especially the last few decades.
“The VA has recognized a shift and change in how it offers and provides services,” Thoen said. “Generations in the past have dealt with a much more adversarial system, and today’s VA has become much more user friendly and easier to access and utilize.”
Laws are constantly changing, too. Flood points out that recent and upcoming changes will open up benefits. That’s why reengaging with Veterans is so important, making sure they seek out new opportunities to better understand benefits.
Flood says CVSOs definitely encourage pre-planning and working with your spouse or children who are going to take care of your estate to understand what is available or who to contact.
“I see a lot of veteran’s children come in and completely lost as far as what to do, where to go, and where to even begin, same for their spouse,” Flood said.
Check with your local County Veterans Service Office (CVSO) to learn what benefits are available and what you can do to help ease the process for family members in the future. Be sure to also check into ongoing benefits to the dependents after losing a Veteran.
There’s also been a change in the Agent Orange benefits, so they are trying to reach out to those families that have been affected to see if they might qualify with the new change in laws and statutes. If you or someone you know needs more info, reach out to your local CVSO.