One of the most important things that we do every day for veterans and surviving
spouses is to provide hope that they may receive some type of VA benefits. Many
of them who come through our doors have given up hope on ever receiving any help
from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Our volunteers only mission is to do
their best to improve the lives of the men and women who served our country in
the military. To do so, we assist veterans to apply for VA compensation caused by
an injury that occurred in the military or is presumptive to their military service.
We also assist veterans to file for pension and surviving spouses to apply for DIC
Pension benefits. Most of the men and women we serve are not aware of some of
the VA benefits they may be eligible to receive. We urge all veterans and
surviving spouses to find out what they could be eligible for. A good place to start
is by calling the VA @ 1-800-827-1000 to request that an Intent to File (21-0966)
be initiated by them. This would give the veteran or surviving spouse a start date
for VA benefits and would give you one year to complete the application.


During the last year, we have seen an increase in the number of surviving who are
applying for VA benefits. One of the most important things a veteran can do is to
prepare a VA file listing all of the conditions they have that are service-connected
disabilities. For the spouse or dependents to be eligible to receive VA benefits, the
service connected disability must be listed on the Death Certificate as the primary or 
as a contributing condition. If the veteran is rated at one hundred percent for the last 
ten years, the surviving spouse may be eligible for the DIC benefit. If the veteran’s cause 
of death is a presumptive condition to their military service and is listed on the death 
certificate, the spouse and dependents may be eligible for VA benefits.


When a disabled veteran has a special needs dependent who was disabled before
age 18 he or she may be eligible for VA benefits under the Helpless Child
program. They may be eligible if the veteran is deceased and was in receipt of VA