The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) reminded veterans and their dependents that they should never pay for assistance to apply for veterans’ benefits. Federal and state laws make provisions for accredited veteran service officers to provide free advice and assistance for all to access their veterans’ benefits.
“Pennsylvania is home to nearly 800,000 veterans, and all deserve the benefits they have earned through their military service,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the DMVA. “Unfortunately, there are still some in our communities who attempt to profit by assisting veterans to sign up for their benefits. Veterans should never have to pay to apply. Pennsylvania has numerous accredited veteran service officers available who are eager to help veterans prepare claims and apply for benefits free of charge. These are experienced and certified professionals who are well-trained and provide great advice to veterans.”
There are approximately 200 veteran service officers in Pennsylvania who work within organizations such as the DMVA, county veterans affairs offices and several veterans service organizations.
Accredited veteran service officers provide veterans and their dependents free assistance to identify, determine eligibility for and apply for a wide range of benefits on the local, state and federal levels, including:
- Payment of burial allowances;
- Ensuring grave markers and headstones are properly requested and placed;
- The Disabled Veterans Real Estate Tax Exemption Program;
- Veterans emergency assistance;
- Blind and paralyzed veterans pensions;
- The Education Gratuity Program;
- Service-connected disability and non-service connected disability pensions;
- Federal health care benefits; and
- Survivor benefits.