Many veterans are said to have little or no understanding of all the benefits due them.
In an effort to boost awareness locally, officials of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs will hold a meeting Thursday night, July 18 at 6:00 p.m. at the VFW Post 7623 on the Sparta Highway in Smithville. All military veterans and their spouses are urged to attend. Please bring with you a copy of your DD214 (retirement or discharge form) or other proper military service information if you are interested in learning more about benefits to which you may be entitled.
Among those planning to be present to answer questions are County Service officer Paul Cantrell along with Sarah Tinch of Putnam County and Jack Bussell and Matthew Elmore of White County.
Officials say veterans are eligible for a wide range of benefits, from access to the VA’s well-regarded medical system to lifetime payments for disabilities suffered during military service to access to education, life insurance and home loan programs, among others.
"DeKalb County veterans are lacking on a lot of benefits (due them). A lot of spouses or widows of veterans can still receive some benefits, " said Ron Miller, VFW Post Commander. Benefits have changed within the last three to ten years and most veterans, spouses, and handicapped people who are 100% disabled have no idea what they are eligible for," said Miller.
"For example, if they (veterans or spouses) are unable to use a shower or tub, they go up to about $7,500 (benefits) to improve their bathroom just to get it fixed," said Miller. "Most of the residents of DeKalb County need to know about all of this and the only way they can be informed of it is to meet in a forum where they can discuss it," he said.
"DeKalb County (veterans) received about $3.5 million in (benefits) during 2011-12. They could receive more," said Miller. "We've only got 1,100 (veterans) in the county". In one way or another, from compensation to the veterans or from subsidies, it could be from anything as long as it's used for the veterans," he said.
"I would appreciate it if everybody (veterans and spouses) would come if they need it. Even if you don't understand what benefits you may be eligible for, come to the meeting and ask the questions," said Miller.
For more information, call Ron Miller at 931-761-2307