Senior report: Mobile office offers help to veterans

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -So many veterans feel confused about benefits and services they've earned. There's so much to know...and so many changes from one year to the next. That's why the nonprofit Disabled American Veterans offers help.

It can be complicated and confusing for disabled veterans trying get the medical care and benefits they to survive. But at the Disabled American Veterans chapter home on Highway 90 East, the parking lot is crowded with cars. They've come because once a year the mobile office from New Orleans comes to help with counseling and claim filing assistance.

Disabled veterans who come here may find out there are programs, benefits or services they qualify for that they didn't even know about that could improve their quality of life. For one thing,  as local chapter commander Ray Arsement explains as a person's medical condition changes their benefits may as well.  "If you have a disability it doesn't mean that it will stay the same. The percent could go up or your legs or something goes worse, so then you can put in a claim to get your disability higher. You can't just come one time and say, 'Well, I got it in. Now they've got to worry about it.' You have got to stay on top of it."

Besides helping veterans get the benefits they've earned, Roy Weldon says a key component is to increase public awareness. "Whenever you see a vet thank a vet and if they need assistance help them out."  He says an up and coming effort is helping vets who are homeless. "The VA has put out a new directive here in the last couple of months dealing strictly with what they're calling a zero tolerance for homeless veterans. So, there are shelters, programs."

The DAV Mobile Service Office will be at the following locations to personally provide the best counseling and claim filing assistance available.  Like all D-A-V services, help from the Mobile Service Office is free to all veterans and members of their families.

Veterans in this area looking for help with benefit issues can call service officer Roy Benoit at 337-217-8068.  Click here for more information about disabled veterans services and where to go for assistance.

May 3-4, 2010;
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.;
DAV Chapter Home,
5516 Highway 90 East,
Lake Charles, Louisiana.

May 5-6, 2010;
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.;
St. Edmond's Gym,
4131 West Congress Street,
Lafayette, Louisiana.