Veterans Service Officers - Serving Veterans and Family Members
Author: Wendy Taormina-Weiss : Contact: Disabled World
Published: 2012-04-11 : (Rev. 2019-02-18)
- A Veteran Service Officer provides information and assistance to veterans and their family members by helping to obtain benefits and services.
A Veteran Service Officer (VSO) provides professional assistance to both veterans and their family members by helping them to obtain benefits and services they have earned through military service.
Veterans Service Officers - VSO's have a compassionate understanding of problems, which confront veterans, widows, widowers, and children. Veterans Service Officers know the extent, the meaning and the application of laws that have been passed by the U.S, Congress in the interests of veterans and their dependents. They also know the rules and regulations adopted by the Department of Veterans Affairs to clarify and implement those laws. Veterans Service Officers will apply specialized knowledge in the best way suited to the needs of every individual veteran or other beneficiary who comes to the office for assistance.
VSO's assist veterans and their family members to receive services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other government agencies. VSO's also represent the interests of veterans with disabilities, our family members, widowed spouses, and orphans before state and local government, Congress, the Judicial Branch, and the White House. While a Veteran Service Officer provides outreach about program services to people in general, their focus is specifically related to veterans with disabilities and our family members.
County and Tribal Veteran Service Officers
A County or Tribal Veteran Service Officer advises veterans in their area, as well as dependents, of their rights and entitlements under a number of state and federal laws. The VSO's counsel veterans and family members, actively assisting them to fill out appropriate forms and other paperwork, and to obtain the correct documents and affidavits. The work these VSO's do is generated through inquiries from veterans or family members about benefits, or via actions on the parts of the VSO's themselves as they seek out veterans or family members who need and might be entitled to assistance.
The work performed by County or Tribal VSO's is both complex and extracting because of the many state and federal laws that are involved, as well as the regulations that need to be followed. The laws cover numerous and varied veterans benefits to include:
- Death benefits
The United States of America has been involved in a great many military conflicts, wars, and other military actions over time. Veterans from these military conflicts, wars, and other military actions finds the need for VSO's increasing - there just are not enough Veteran Service Officers in America to work with veterans. Organizations exist with the goal of assisting veterans and our family members, meaning the letters, 'VSO,' also stand for, 'Veteran Service Organization.'
One of these organizations is the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). The VFW also has Veteran Service Officers who are dedicated to serving the veterans of America. The VSO's through the VFW provide veterans with a number of different services such as:
- Help with completing required forms
- Assisting veterans to prepare responses
- Assisting veterans to re-open claims for service-connected disabilities
- Reviewing statements of the case from the VA regarding claim denials
- Following-up on the status of claims veterans have filed with their Regional VA Office
- Helping veterans who are filing original claims for compensation or pension with the VA
- Answering and researching phone inquiries about medical, death/burial, or other benefits
- Offering research assistance and advice to veterans who want to handle their own claims
- Helping veterans and spouses to prepare appeals for claim denials and to file the appeals
- Filing Notice of Disagreements with a VA Regional Office if a veteran believes a VA decision is incorrect
A Veteran Service Officer's Code of Ethics
To a VSO, any confidential information - whether it is supplied by a veteran, the VA, or another party, is something that remains confidential and is not discussed or released except to people who are personally connected to the case and have a, 'need to know.' Having worked with a VSO before - they take this seriously. A VSO prepares and perfects all claims to the best of their ability with the intent of ensuring a veteran or their family member receives the benefits they are entitled to. They work to make sure that all of the information is both factual and true to the best of their knowledge.
VSO's maintain high professional standards when they interact with other officers; whether it is on a local, state, or federal level. They maintain this high standard when working with other agencies and people as well as they provide services for veterans and our family members. As they provide services for veterans, they do so without prejudice related to the veteran or family member's race, class, gender, or ability.
As anyone who has encountered government rules, regulations, and laws is aware - the tangle can grow thick. VSO's make extensive efforts, to the best of their ability, to maintain a working knowledge of all the rules and regulations concerning veterans benefits, striving to keep their knowledge up-to-date. The process of learning for VSO's is constant because of the continually-changing laws and regulations related to veterans and our family members.
A Veteran Service Officer should not - no matter what the circumstances, accept money or any other form of payment from a veteran or family member for the services they provide. They also should not serve as a guardian, a committee, or a fiduciary for veterans who are receiving benefits from the VA or another agency.
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- 2 - Hearing Disability - Age or Prior Activities? : Thomas C. Weiss (2011/03/20)
- 3 - Drexel Universities offers New Veterans a Free Degree! : Thomas C. Weiss (2009/07/04)
- 4 - No Property Tax for Some Disabled Vets in Texas : Thomas C. Weiss (2009/07/05)
- 5 - The National Resource Directory Website for Veterans : Thomas C. Weiss (2009/07/11)
- 6 - VA Experiencing Increase in Disability Claims : Thomas C. Weiss (2009/07/19)
- 7 - SUDS - Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba : Thomas C. Weiss (2009/07/21)
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