Options exist for veterans during shutdown

American Legion service officers – even those working in Department of Veterans Affairs facilities now closed to the public – still are providing claims assistance to veterans.

Service officers located in VA facilities now closed are moving to new locations where assistance can be provided; other DSOs who haven’t relocated are providing telephone assistance in claims processing.

Vet Centers and VA medical facilities open through the shutdown have been offering space to service officers to meet with veterans and family members; however, there is no VA computer access available.

American Legion posts are an excellent resource to find an accredited Legion service officer to request claims assistance locally. Claim forms also can be submitted through the mail to VA Regional Offices and should be date stamped by VA upon receipt to protect the date of claim.

While VA may be accepting mail, it is not responding to any mail received.

Veterans who may be eligible for VA compensation also are encouraged to use the Legion’s Claims Coach mobile app. The app, available through either the Apple Store or Google Play, provides step-by-step guidance to help you and your service officer through the process of filing for VA benefits.

In the month prior to the shutdown, The American Legion represented 713,255 veterans with claims in the Veterans Benefits Administration. Through Legion assistance, those veterans received VBA benefits totaling $758,692,429.