Legion to hold DSO School in Washington

About 150 Legionnaires from across the country will attend The American Legion's Department Service Officer (DSO) School in Washington, March 19-21, to receive training that will help them file benefits claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and provide other services to America’s veterans.

“With so many changes to case law and regulations over the course of a year, it’s inherent for us to provide proper training to our department service officers and other accredited representatives, in order to better serve the veterans and dependents seeking benefits from VA,” said Zachary Hearn, deputy director for benefits in the Legion’s Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division.

Since the Legion’s service officers do more than assist with claims, this year’s DSO School will feature expert training from several agencies that do not work directly with veterans benefits. Service officers may help veterans get employment, or help homeless veterans get shelter, Hearn said.

The DSO School will include a presentation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to talk about how veterans can be protected from a variety of financial scams. VA will offer training on its eBenefits online system for veterans.

Representatives from the Department of Justice will go over provisions of the Radiation Exposure and Compensation Act, passed for veterans exposed to radiation from above-ground atomic testing that took place in America during the 1950s and 1960s.

American Legion DSO schools are held twice a year, one in the nation’s capital (just before the Washington Conference) and another in Indianapolis, usually in August.

Hearn said the DSO schools “are critical to the Legion’s training program. Service officers are professionals, and professionals need to have continuous training. The world of veterans law and regulations, and procedures that VA is utilizing – these can change rapidly, and if you’re not keeping up with those changes, you could potentially be harming veterans. And that’s not the idea behind a service officer.”

Besides DSOs, county service officers and other accredited Legion representatives will be attending the school next week.


  1. I am a 30-year Air Force retiree & lifetime DAV member and would like to know what the criteria is for attending any DSO training available, and becoming a DSO. I've been impressed with the DAV's work since they did such a great job assisting me with my retirement preparations, but have spent hours looking for a point of contact without success.
  2. What are the requirements for attending the DSO Training and providing these services?
  3. I am a proud member of the Legion and recently turned in a claim to the VA regional office here in Baltimore for a claim for various medical problems that I know are related to my in-country exposure during the Gulf War. How do I find I DSO to assist in following up on this claim. Thank you.
  4. I would like more information as to how to be enrolled in the next class. I now serve in the Veterans Court system as a mentor, in Novi, MI, and would be very proud to help our veterans in any way. I'm a Marine and served in Vietnam, 1969. Who do I contact so as to be enrolled in the next class. I am a member of American Legion, VFW, DAV, and other veteran organizations.
  5. I am wondering, as a Legion member, I am wondering how do we, or are we able to sign up to possibly attend any future DSO training? I am a 30 yr military Veteran and I have great insight on assisting other with their VA claims, as I am a former Combat Medic (so is my wife) and also my wife works for the VBA, with filing claims.
  6. Thank you. I am an American Legion Member of Morton,Il. Appreciate your ongoing awareness re/those Honorable Veterans whom have and are still serving our Country. We need more awareness, esp. those who will help those Veterans who do Not know anything re/ their S-C benefits. I served in 'Nam, my dad served in WWII,ArmyAirCorps. Very proud of him.I also subscribe to TVA (from Washington,DC.) and plan to become a Veterans Advocate. (have helped some of my close friends, including a Combat Medic ('Nam) since no one even told me I was entitled to any Benefits @ all. Took me over 42 years to understand and pursue my own Military Archive Records. What is the criteria for me, as an Honorable Veteran, I am Not at present a Lifetime member of the American Legion, but am with DAV, and VFW. I am very interested in being selected to pursue DSO Schooling. What & who to I contact in the future for information?
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