A recurring problem in Pennsylvania, is people who charge veterans to apply for their benefits. There are no fees and no veteran should have to pay for their VA services.
With some 800,000 veterans in Pennsylvania, the issue of military vets being charged for help with applying for benefits has become a problem in the state. According to The Tribune-Review’s article, “Veterans don’t need to pay for help to apply for benefits in Pa,” there are people who attempt to monetize the application process.
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.
For a comprehensive summary of benefits, visit the Veterans Affairs website’s dedicated page about benefits: https://benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/benefits-summary/SummaryofVABenefitsFlyer.pdf.
Who is eligible for VA benefits? Any uniformed service member, veteran or spouse, child or parent of a deceased or disabled service member or veteran are eligible.
Reference: (The Tarentum, PA) Tribune-Review (May 17, 2019) “Veterans don’t need to pay for help to apply for benefits in Pa”