Veterans in Puerto Rico deserve the same support as those living in the mainland United States. That was a point of emphasis during a veterans town hall sponsored by the Department of Puerto Rico on Nov. 10 in San Juan.
“The American Legion commits to keep bringing these opportunities so veterans can receive the same treatment as their counterparts living in the States,” said Department Commander Carmen Rosario.
Alex Ortiz of the VFW noted that the state veterans advocate office in Puerto Rico has only 14 employees to assist 65,000 veterans.
Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Tanya Bradsher and several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus attended the town hall to discuss issues faced by veterans in Puerto Rico.
Among the topics raised by veterans at the town hall:
· Improvement in Tricare services for servicemembers and their families;
· Difficulty in reaching the VA Caribbean Healthcare System for appointment and extensions;
· Improvement in mental health programs;
· Difficulty in changing discharge codes on DD-214s;
· Veterans leaving for the mainland U.S. for better care and compensation.
Rosario also reminded veterans in attendance to submit for their PACT Act benefits.
“I would love to remind each and every veteran of all eras to join the efforts that the VA and the service officers are helping with to ensure all our veterans get a better quality of life and the A-plus care that they deserve. It will be a group effort, and we must join together to accomplish this,” Rosario said.