Sunday, April 14, 2024


I will admit that this is going to be a stretch to link the three distinct topics identified in the title. I am pulling from my interactions over the past week or so. I trained with fellow CVSOs and presented to the phenomenal staff at the Minne­sota State Veterans Home in Silver Bay.

A few thoughts have been bouncing around since.

First, I would like to address VA proposed rules. For example, on February 9th VA propos­ed a rule to extend presumed areas of exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides. While I ex­pect this “proposed” rule to eventually take ef­fect, please pay close attention to the word “pro­pose” defined as “put forward (an idea or plan) for consideration or discussion by others”.

Not all proposed rules will go into effect. The VA is responsible for administering benefit programs. If there are no benefits, then there is no VA. A word of caution about what you hear or read, typically narrated by lawyers or for profit com­panies. Look at the Federal Register if you want the real story.

VA-contracted skilled nursing facilities receive per diem payments from the VA for residents with a 70% or higher service-connected combined disability rating. The Veteran may pay nothing, which is very attractive when considering skilled care costs are thousands per month.

Consider pursuing a disability compensation claim prior to moving into a skilled nursing fa­cility, as it can be very difficult to complete the process after. It can be even more difficult to ob­tain a high disability rating (70% or higher). Your CVSO does not have a magic wand.

I already wrote about claim sharks, those un­scrupulous entities preying on Veterans. Whether they promise a 100% disability rating or exagger­ate a proposed rule, these businesses are gener­ating revenue through services that are free of charge through a CVSO.

What’s the connection between the three topics? Your CVSO, of course. If you are not sure about a proposed rule, then ask someone who does not financially benefit. Think about your future and the pos­sibility of skilled nursing, then start working on your disability compensation claim now. Someone is promising a disability rating for a fee, then talk to your CVSO first.

Your MN CVSO will not charge you for ser­vices. CVSOs are not allowed to accept gifts. If you drop off a gift, then it becomes a county prop­erty and may be discarded. I am a volunteer con­tributor and not compensated by the newspaper. My intent (in this article) is to educate everyone and maximize all Veterans’ 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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