By Tito A. Cortez
VSSA was established in January 27, 2011 and is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a 501c3 Internal Revenue Code (IRC) charitable private nonprofit organization. Staffed primarily by volunteers and with a primary mission of helping US Armed Forces Veterans and families in submitting their claim for service connected disability compensation, VSSA has helped over 1,200 clients resulting in over 120 of them receiving total disability rating of 100%. In monetary terms, each of these 120 Disabled Veterans is receiving over $3,000 a month or $36,000 a year, tax free.
Collectively, there are many more who are rated 90% and below, and if you translate those whom we have helped and now receiving compensation, you could readily see the impact on our Veterans family as well the impact on our local economy. Nonetheless, VA compensations are truly life changing.
The government always refers clients to each other. Because we are not part of them, because we are nonprofit, VSSA will always be the last place to visit when Veterans are not satisfied of the help they received in completing their application for service connected disability compensation. Time and again, many have tried other governmental places only to receive needed forms and were told to return when completed. And some never returned.
At times, it seemed that public agencies only care to put Veterans info into their system for service statistics, symbolizing they helped a Veteran today. They don't care about the results of their helping. And not caring means much lip services were provided and in the process, not too many Veterans get the help they needed.
Those who didn't get the help they needed sometimes find VSSA, a small nonprofit agency, staffed by volunteers and yet currently managing over 1,200 clients. With a governmental budget 70 times VSSA, our counterpart has a full time director, 5 case managers, several support staff and managing 2,500 clients. Now, you can understand why we are the Equalizer. We are the alternative.
What is compensation?
A disability compensation is a monthly monetary benefit paid to Veterans who are determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to be disabled by an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service. These disabilities are considered to be service connected. To be eligible for compensation, a Veteran must have been separated or discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
How can you qualify for a service disability compensation?
First and foremost, you must have suffered an injury or injuries while serving in the military and you have documented medical evidence that in fact these injuries happened while you were serving and now they are becoming worse.
If you claim to have suffered an injury while serving, you must still be diagnosed, preferably, by a VA Medical Doctor ensuring your injury is worse than ever. If you have recovered from your injury, you probably don't have a claim for service connected disability compensation. Should you file, your claim would probably be denied.