Veterans Benefits Live, VA in My Town to take place in Wilmington, seeks to help veterans expedite VA claims

The VA’s computer systems will be down that day, but VSOs will still be present to assist clients in filing paper claims to the VA.
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 7:04 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2022 at 6:25 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A Veterans Benefits Live, VA in My Town event will be held at American Legion Post 10 in Wilmington from Nov. 17 to 18. The American Legion Department of North Carolina, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs have partnered to host this event.

According to the announcement, the event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 17 and 18. American Legion Post 10 is located at 702 Pine Grove Drive.

“This event will bring service officers, claims adjudicators, and healthcare representatives face to face with veterans to help facilitate and expedite veterans’ new or existing VA disability claims, appeals, or other healthcare problems,” stated an announcement from Brunswick County.

According to the release, veterans who plan on attending will have the opportunity to:

  • File a new claim with the VA;
  • Ask questions about VA appeals or benefits to which they may be entitled;
  • Ask questions about VA health care;
  • Get assistance facilitating and expediting existing claims and appeals;
  • Receive information regarding benefit-related VA programs.

Additionally, those who plan on attending are asked to present proper documentation concerning their case, including their DD214 and all medical records related to their disability.

“We need to make sure that we get the veterans in and get the VA to explain how to go about, you know, getting enrolled in that program under the PACT Act, and it’s big right now because a lot of the veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan were subjected to some pretty nasty things and burn pits,” Mike Donnelly, State Commander for the American Legion, said. “We have an obligation to make sure that we’re taking care of them. We made a promise to the nation and now it’s time for the nation to keep the promise with us.”

Previously, the main event was scheduled to run on Saturday, Nov. 19 as well. The VA’s computer systems will be down that day, but VSOs will still be present to assist clients in filing paper claims to the VA. Those who have a pending claim or appeal and need to speak with a VA rater will need to attend on Thursday or Friday.

“We wanted to bring more veterans in. One of our missions is to really increase the number of veterans that receive benefits. A couple of years ago, we only had 25% of our veterans utilizing benefits. As of recently, we have 40%. So, that’s a large increase of our North Carolina veterans that are now utilizing the VA which improves our quality of life,” Chris Warguez, an assistant veterans service member with the Winston-Salem branch of the VA, said. “There’s a lot of information out there and it can be confusing, but if they come here, then we’ll be able to answer their questions. There’s a lot of information about the PACT Act that can lose you in water. We’re here to provide that information. Our services are completely free, and we have the expertise to be able to answer.”

For more information about this event, please visit the online sign-up portal. Event organizers have stated that pre-registration does not ensure that one will be seen. The event will operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

A Veterans Benefits Live, VA in My Town event will be held at American Legion Post 10 in...
A Veterans Benefits Live, VA in My Town event will be held at American Legion Post 10 in Wilmington from Nov. 17 to 18.(U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)