On Feb. 6,VA sponsored the Veterans Experience Action Center in the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl Multiplex in Montgomery, Alabama. VA staff members were on hand to process and provide updates on claims and appeals.
State, local and other federal agencies collaborated to provide information on housing, insurance, health care, employment, bereavement and mental health counseling. And a VA mobile Vet center was also on standby for those Veterans making a transition back into civilian life.
Thousands of Veterans and their family members turned out for the event. Many found the center useful, such as Veteran John Campbell, who drove from South Carolina.
“I learned more in 45 minutes than the 5 years my paperwork has been processing,” he said.
MCampbell is not alone. Many Veterans complain about the lag in wait time which can be attributed to backlogs and miscommunication. In some cases, Veterans simply do not understand the filing protocols and benefits available to them, according to Gerald Ruffin, a volunteer peer support specialist.
That’s why VA is hosting these events across the country.
More than 800 Veterans attended, also bringing their family members and friends. Nearly half of the Veterans received services of some kind, 107 claims and 15 appeals were processed, 38 enrolled in VA health care, 120 received information from NCA, 450 took home a VA Welcome Kit, and 44 received their claims decision and rating on-the-spot. $266,826 in retroactive compensation was granted during the event.
John Davis, a U.S. Army Veteran, had been waiting four years for a decision on his claim. After speaking with VBA representatives, he was able to expedite his paperwork. As this new initiative expands to other cities across the country, the Veterans Experience Action Center will promote more awareness and provide holistic care for our heroes and their families, caregivers, and survivors.