Wednesday, May 22, 2024


Most of you reading this article will be waist-deep in Thanksgiving leftovers. Perhaps a few escaped the festive gatherings without an arm­load of plastic containers and are now scram­bling for a meal idea. Not that anyone asked, but I am thankful for my family (including all the “cousins” – you know who you are) and the dai­ly opportunities to interact with and assist other Veterans and their families. For various reasons, not everyone will have had the opportunity or ability to gather with family and friends. Please be grateful for what you have and compassion­ate to those without.

Speaking of leftovers, I have a few topics I would like to warm up and re-serve for your reading consumption. In no order or culinary combination, here are a few reminders about services and benefits.

New laws and updated regulations have re­sulted in unprecedented increases in available benefits. There is a significant backlog across all levels of government. As of 11/18/2023, VA has 1,085,245 pending claims.

CVSOs, including myself, can attest to the positive impact of these new benefits by the up­turn of interactions with Veterans and their families. Lake County Veterans Services are actively working with more than 150 Veterans or family members. Please be patient with your CVSO regardless of where you live. You may have to wait a day for a returned phone call, you may not be able to walk in and receive same-day service, or you may have to wait several weeks for an ap­pointment. Do not be discouraged, your CVSO still wants to hear from you and assist you. Please, please leave a message if your CVSO is unable to answer your call.

If you are a Veteran who served from 09/11/2001 to 08/30/2021, then you may be el­igible for the Minnesota Department of Veter­ans Affairs (MDVA) Post-9/11 Veteran Service Bonus. If you happen to know a Veteran that served during this period, then please pass this along. For more information visit MDVA’s web­site https://mn.gov/mdva/resources/familyassis­tance/911-service-bonus.jsp

An upcoming article will be about claim sharks, individuals or companies that charge hefty fees to “assist” or “consult” Veterans with filing their VA benefit claims – an illegal practice. Your CVSO is VA accredited and does not (cannot) charge for assistance and services provided. Please read the fine print and do your research before using a non-accredited company for your VA benefits.

Brad Anderson and Melissa Crandall are the Lake County Veterans Service Officers and can be reached at 218.834.8326 or cvso@co.lake.mn.us

Karen Christianson is the Cook County Vet­erans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.387.3639, or karen.christianson@co.cook.mn.us

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