Friday, July 19, 2024


I was recently asked how long it takes me to write an article. It was a casual conversation regarding another piece in the newspaper that spanned several pages. I am graciously allotted space for about 400 words, give or take. My re­sponse to the grueling, painstaking task (insert a heavy dose of sarcasm) of writing this article was “a couple of hours at most”.

This Monday morning writing session has consumed about 30 minutes before I am able to settle on an opening paragraph. The remainder of the article relates to my daily responsibilities and often consists of “acquired” material. I am hoping for a sprint across the finish line.

Before getting to the main topic, I would like to reintroduce Melissa Crandall, Lake Coun­ty Assistance County Veterans Service Officer (ACVSO). Melissa is a Marine Corps Veteran with nearly nine years of service, more than half overseas, including a deployment in Iraq. She was also a Marine Security Guard ensuring the safety of our embassies in three different coun­tries. She has prior experience working with Veterans, as her previous employer was the De­partment of Veterans Affairs.

Melissa has spent her first five months com­pleting mandatory training, federal certification, and accreditations with multiple national service organizations. As the ACVSO, she can (and will) assist, advise, and advocate for Veterans just like the CVSO. Melissa is not my secretary. Please re-read the previous paragraph about her military service and then look at the calendar to see if it is 2024. Bias and disrespect will not be tolerated.

VA disability compensation claims take time and require patience. One of the initial steps in the claim is a Compensation and Pension Exam­ination (C&P exam). In this area, most C&P ex­ams are scheduled by a third-party vendor con­tracted by VA. Each vendor, with acronym names like QTC, VES, or LHI, has a network of private clinics and doctors to perform the exams. The ex­ams are a required component of your claim.

Your CVSO has little control over when and where your C&P exam is scheduled. It may take two weeks or two months to schedule. It may be 30 miles away or 150 miles away (you will be reimbursed for mileage). Let your CVSO know if you have travel restrictions. You will have to an­swer the phone or return their message. You can­not tell the contractor you will not go to the exam, but you may negotiate the time and location. Fail­ure to complete the exam will most likely result in a denied claim.

Please be patient and communicate with the contractor. Your CVSO is not authorized to com­municate with the contractor on your behalf.

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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