Ian de Planque, The American Legion's assistant director for Claims Service, recently met with Susan Prokop of Paralyzed Veterans of America and members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Veterans Task Force to discuss emerging areas of concern regarding disabled veterans and ways in which veterans service organizations can bridge the gaps and improve outreach and access to benefits for disabled veterans.
The American Legion recognized two growing segments of the veterans population, women veterans and rural veterans, who are facing obstacles in access to health care and disability benefits, and how VSOs are an important resource for outreach to put those veterans in touch with earned benefits. While VA is making improvements in those areas, organizations such as The American Legion still have the potential to reach greater numbers than even VA can, due to their unique place in the hometown communities of veterans. Associating those veterans with the benefits to which they are entitled is a key area of outreach, and efforts such as the recent women veterans panels and roundtables sponsored by the Legion are ways in which VSOs can focus light on this needed area of dialogue.
The American Legion expressed its willingness to participate in future dialogue and to work with the task force to assist disabled veterans in any way possible.