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Beacon offers veterans help navigating the VA

July 25, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Beacon of HOPE is now offering a new community-based program to help local veterans navigate the VA system for possible benefits.

"if you're a veteran who seeks help with understanding eligibility, guidance and assistance, you should contact the Pine Island Beacon of HOPE," executive director Betsy Haesemeyer said. "You can set up a meeting with a Veteran Service officer and a local volunteer veteran to help you navigate the sometimes cumbersome system."

Some of the most common requests for medical help are regarding eligibility for and enrollment in VA Healthcare. If you are eligible for VA healthcare, you can benefit in several ways. Benefits include direct mental health care or access to VA resources and services that can support the care that you need in the community. The first step is finding out if you are eligible. From there you can find additional resources that can support the care that is provided (for example, group treatments, specialty care, housing resources).

Generally, if someone has served 24 consecutive months of active duty service in the military and separated under conditions other than dishonorable, they may be eligible. In some cases eligibility may be based on income.

Determining the eligibility status and possible co-payment information for a veteran can be complicated. Because of this we strongly encourage you to apply for enrollment even if you feel you may not be eligible.

"We can help any honorably discharged service man or woman," Haesemeyer said. "The most often sought after benefit in the VA is for hearing loss. It is also the number one benefit paid to veterans by our government."

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Hearing loss is a direct result of being in the proverbial right place at the wrong time without hearing protection. This is, in many cases, a wartime disability, and is now a prominent factor in complicating a veteran's daily quality of life.

"Testing, treatment and hearing aids can be supplied by the VA if you have an in-service related problem," Haesemeyer said. "Getting tested by an audiologist is a start."

Please schedule an appointment with the Beacon of HOPE for the morning of Friday, Aug. 3, between 9 and 11:30 a.m., to discuss any benefits for which you may be eligible. Call 239-283-5123.



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