Veteran Service Officers

My proton therapy treatment for prostate cancer was completed two months ago today. So far, so good.  Last Thursday, I spoke at the annual training meeting of the New Jersey Association of Veteran Service officers in Atlantic City. It was a great meeting. I was received well by the VSOs in attendance and learned much from other speakers. I was pleasantly surprised by the interest the VSOs showed in helping the vets they serve. VSOs are generally government workers who are employees of the counties in which their offices are located. Government workers can sometimes be less than interested in helping the public. Not so with the VSOs I met. Most of the men and women I met at the meeting were veterans. That surely influences how they relate to vets seeking assistance. Some of the VSOs were also disabled. If memory serves, three of them used motorized chairs to get around and another one used a manual wheelchair.

My talk was fit in at the end of a packed schedule. Even though they were attending a banquet a little later that day, most stayed for my talk and listened attentively. Some asked good questions and afterwards some informed me of benefits that aren’t widely known. For example, a 100% rating is not always the maximum. Under certain conditions, disabled vets can be awarded considerably more than 100%.  I doubt if I am eligible for Special Monthly Compensation (SMC), but the old sergeant I served with may be because he has a number of serious medical conditions, more than one of which is an Agent Orange disease.

Several people took copies of Prostate Cancer and the Veteran home with them because it contains some information that is new to them. Of course, they already knew all about dealing with the VA.

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