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TRUST AND RELATIONSHIPS MATTER MOST TO VFW SERVICE OFFICER

VFW Service Officer recommends seeking help with VA claims.

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Barry Walter, Veterans Service Office Director, VFW Department of Illinois

Barry Walter, Director of the Veterans Service Office, VFW Department of Illinois, believes service officers must be both thorough in their review of cases and tenacious in working to right any wrongs. 

Walter is always prepared to defend a claim if he believes the VA is resisting evidence. Like he did with veteran Mike Janson*.

Janson was evaluated at 100% for his claim, but once he completed treatment he knew the VA would reevaluate and likely assign a lower evaluation. When he went to his local VA hospital to request dental care he was denied because his evaluation wasn’t “permanent.”

Even though permanency isn’t required, Janson still couldn’t get in to see a dentist.

“It took a close reading, but they were wrong,” says Walter. “He was entitled to care with his rating.”

After a couple of well-placed phone calls from Walter, Janson was connected with a person who could help him and he received a dental appointment within hours.

“Because most veterans don’t have someone like Barry helping them, they don’t know the rules and just probably accept a wrongful denial,” Janson said. “I really appreciated his help and follow through.”

Walter says getting help from a VFW Service Officer upfront before filing a claim is the surest way for veterans to avoid headaches.

“If they understand what they’re applying for and what the rules are before they get a letter from the VA asking for additional evidence, it really eliminates a lot of frustration on the part of a veteran,” he said.

“Working with veterans and being honest with them about their claims is challenging,” he continued. “We have to create relationships built on trust and confidence in our expertise.

“There’s real satisfaction in knowing you’ve done your job right and veterans you’re working with receives the benefits they deserve.”

*Name changed to protect privacy.

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