Millions of veterans across the nation are not receiving or even applying for benefits they earned and need. With that in mind, DAV holds informational events in communities throughout the year.
The Department of Maryland brought DAV volunteers and staff into downtown Baltimore April 2 to assist more than 200 veterans. Gathering at Baltimore’s War Memorial Building, DAV provided claims assistance and held a special seminar tailored for the region.
“It is incredibly important for veterans to understand what they have earned and how they can obtain those benefits and services,” Department of Maryland Commander Lamarr Couser said. “We had a wide variety of information and resources in one place at the same time.”
National Service Officers from DAV’s Baltimore and Washington, D.C., offices provided direct claims assistance. Veterans were also informed of the process to apply to have the character of a discharge upgraded.
A seminar was presented, providing those in attendance, including homeless veterans, information about benefits available to them immediately and longer term.
“No one is more experienced or knowledgeable about applying for benefits than our service officers,” said National Service Director Jim Marszalek. “We make every effort to help as many veterans as possible, even when that requires leaving our offices and setting up in a community.”
Maryland Secretary of Veterans Affairs Edward Chow spoke with attendees, talking about the various programs specifically available in the state.
Leadership from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, including Past National Commander Robert Reynolds, who is the VA’s Director of the Benefits Assistance Service for the Veterans Benefits Administration, spoke about ways veterans can access benefits more easily.
Volunteers and leadership from DAV’s Departments of Virginia and the District of Columbia also came up to help.
“Special events like this have a very positive impact on many veterans, but they require a great deal of teamwork,” said Washington National Headquarters Executive Director Garry Augustine. “This was another outstanding day of veterans serving veterans. That’s what DAV is all about.”
Contact your state’s Department of local Chapter for information on upcoming seminars in your area. dav.org/membership/local-chapters/