“Veteran Service Officers are available to assist any veteran, family member of a veteran, or Nevada resident on active duty concerning assistance with claims.” That was the message that was provided in Pahrump last week by Kat Miller, director of the Nevada Department of Veterans Services.
Miller held a town hall gathering at the local service office on Calvada Boulevard staffed by Veteran Service Officer Brandi Matheny, who was also in attendance. A dozen veterans and spouses attended the meeting, and had various questions concerning their individual claims. One individual reported that his father’s claim has been stalled at the VA. Another woman whose husband was a SeaBee spoke about her husband’s long-running claim. And a third person said part of his claim was approved, but several items were denied.
Miller noted that the VA in Reno recently brought in a new director, and said that the “VA system has improved dramatically … [but] the need far exceeds the availability of service officers.” She wrote down all the issues and concerns of the residents, and said “I will turn over every rock” regarding potential benefits that can be provided. She noted that each case is different, and sometimes “The answer may be one you don’t want to hear.”
She also took time to discuss the department’s Veterans Advocacy Course, a free online class designed to educate and certify veterans about state benefits that will help them connect service providers with needed information. “There are many state benefits, but veterans need to be able to find them, learn what they are and where they are,” Miller explained. She added, “You may not have an issue, but you might know of a veteran or a family member who does.” To become a certified Nevada Veterans Advocate, one need not be a veteran. “He or she can be any person who is willing to take the time to learn how to help veterans and their families. They can make a difference, one family, or one veteran, at a time.” To sign up as an Advocate, go to www.veterans.nv.gov. Locally, Brandi Matheny can be contacted at 775-751-6372.