Posted on: December 4, 2017
Many veterans miss out on the benefits they’ve earned. With so many VA benefits available for veterans, most probably don’t know where to start. This can lead to some feeling discourage about the lengthy process, almost wanting to give it away to someone else. The problem: this is what YOU earned.
While every case is different, Dan Thorstad gets these types of questions all the time. An article for Tasks & Purpose, he goes into four of the most common questions he gets about VA Benefits.
One big misconception is that the VA actually is the one providing the loan. Actually, they just “back” the home loan, but you still have to meet the basic requirements to qualify. The biggest draw being that a VA home loan requires 0% downpayment. Thorstad says being prepared early is the best way to go.
“Make sure to get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) before you see a loan officer. Some institutions will request it for you, but I have dealt with several that do not understand the benefit and try to sell the veteran on a different loan or some other instrument.”
You never know what papers you need until you need them. One request that Thorstad gets a lot, are for discharge papers. Though you may feel you need them right away, you’re not going to get them quickly. The best way to streamline this process is to register a copy of your DD-214 with a county records office says Thorstad.
“The first thing any veteran needs to do once discharged, or now if they haven’t done it, is register a copy of their DD-214 with their respective county records office. Do not bring Member Copy 1. Copy 1 is worthless because it does not define the character of service and cannot be used to qualify the veteran for any VA benefits.”
Something Thorstad hears a lot: A veteran whose knees (or other body part) hurt just as much as another veteran receiving compensation, and they want in on the action.
Apparently it doesn’t work that way. An officer can let you know if you have a claim or not, but too many vets see their claims denied after submitting it themselves. Because claims can backup the system, Thorstad has a different suggestion: keep your initial claim.
“What I tell vets is that it’s much easier to submit an initial claim than to try to re-open a previously denied claim. Veteran service officers receive training to identify claimable disabilities and meet the VA’s requirements for service-connection.”
We won’t get into the complexity as to why the VA has a dental office but won’t see you without meeting requirements. So let’s talk about that. You need to be enrolled in VA health care, have a service-connected dental injury, be participating in the VA vocational rehab program or haven’t received dental care in the last 3 months. Seems kinda tight right? Well Thorstad says there’s a VA dental insurance program available.
“For instance, many elderly veterans simply cannot afford private health or dental care. The VA treats service-connected disabilities or diseases at no cost and offers lower copayments than a private provider for treatment and medications.”
Dan Thorstad served 23 years active duty in the Army. He deployed twice and retired as a first sergeant.