Virginia Veterans Resources and Benefits Event Made a ‘Life-Changing’ Difference

For three days in late April 2022, the Commonwealth of Virginia hosted a Veterans Experience Action Center (VEAC) hosted by the VA, the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS), and community organizations in Virginia. veterans to help veterans and their family members. access the health care, resources, benefits and services they have earned.

One attendee – a caregiver – said her husband, a veteran who suffers from PTSD, probably wouldn’t have attended if Virginia’s VEAC had been held in person, as he is easily overwhelmed by crowds.

“Because Virginia’s VEAC is virtual, he and his caregiver were able to connect with us and get the information they needed to help them get set up with the health benefits he and his family need. said James Albino, executive director of the Center for Minority Veterans (CMV). CMV is part of the full VEAC team, working over the phone and helping connect veterans and their caregivers to VA and community resources.

The caregiver added that she will be able to sleep better than she has in a long time thanks to the help she and her husband have received at VEAC in Virginia.

Another carer who attended the event called her appointment to VEAC “life changing”.

“She learned that she and her veteran husband were eligible for [VA] health benefits,” Albino said. “She had worked two jobs, even after retiring last year, to pay for their family’s health insurance.”

Due to her enrollment in VA health care, she will reduce her work hours to care for her disabled spouse and disabled daughter. “And, she is eligible for Education Benefits and will seek formal training as a family carer,” Albino added. “She got all of this through a 30-minute virtual date. She actually spent more time telling me the story [than she spent with appointment services].”

“I had a veteran caller who stood out among the rest because she was unaware of any of her VA benefits,” said CMV program analyst D’Andrea Jacobs. “I first connected her with the Veterans Benefits Administration [VBA] for his intention to file for VA [service-connected disability] compensation. After speaking with her and realizing she is a survivor of military sexual trauma [MST]I realized she also needed to see if she was eligible for health care through the Veterans Health Administration [VHA]and other potential service-related issues.

“I created rapport and a safe environment with this caller and realized she needed some advice, so I referred her to community resources. The caller appreciated our efforts to provide him with assistance and education. With our help, she is assured that she will get support for herself and her dependents.

How VEACs Help Veterans

In addition to VBA, VHA, and peer support, VEACs also assist veterans with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA), National Cemetery Administration (NCA), and several veteran-focused community services and resources.

The Virginia VEAC connected 587 veterans to VA services. Of the veterans and families who attended their meet and greet at VEAC, nearly half responded to the VEAC Community Signals Survey, with 75.5% rating the event an overall positive rating.

The VEAC was open to all veterans residing in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Fairfax County, about 15 miles from Washington, DC, had the highest number of VEAC participants (9.9%) of any county.

This virtual VEAC was particularly successful in providing access to deserved services to historically underserved female Veterans, with 29.1% of the total number of participants being female Veterans, far exceeding the 13.8% of the female Veteran population of Virginia.

How VEACs work

VEACs are a collaboration to include representatives from the VHA, VBA, National Cemetery Administration, Board of Veterans’ Appeals, state Departments of Veterans Affairs, and community partners working together to provide one-on-one personalized assistance for: VA benefits, VA health care, crisis resources, memorial affairs, community services and more. Veterans, military, caregivers and survivors book appointments online. They select the optimal time and day based on their availability. At the end of each appointment, VA collects feedback from those served.

VEACs began four years ago to proactively assist veterans, transitioning military members, family members, caregivers and survivors as a one-stop resource.

Check the VEAC website to see if we are moving towards you.

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