The Tribune-Review’s article, “Veterans don’t need to pay for help to apply for benefits in Pa,” explains that the issue of military veterans being charged when applying for benefits is a common problem in Pennsylvania. There are about 800,000 veterans in the Keystone State.
The article warns that there are still some who attempt to profit, by assisting veterans to sign up for their benefits.
Veterans should never have to pay to apply.
In January, an Allegheny County company was fined $10,000 after an employee fraudulently represented that he was an accredited veteran service officer. Some of the claims handled by the Allison Park firm were from Westmoreland County.
Veterans should ask for assistance only from an accredited veteran service officer, an attorney accredited by the VA, or an accredited claims agent. These agents provide veterans and their dependents free assistance to identify, determine eligibility for and apply for a wide range of benefits on the local, state and federal levels. That benefits include the following:
- Burial allowances;
- Grave markers and headstones properly requested and placed;
- The Disabled Veterans Real Estate Tax Exemption Program;
- Veterans Emergency Assistance;
- Pensions for blind and paralyzed veterans;
- The Education Gratuity Program;
- Service connected disability and non-service connected disability pensions;
- Federal health care benefits; and
- Survivor benefits.
You may be eligible for VA benefits, if you’re a uniformed servicemember, veteran, or spouse, child, or parent of a deceased or disabled service member or veteran.
A summary of benefits can be found at the Veterans Affairs website: https://benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/benefits-summary/SummaryofVABenefitsFlyer.pdf.