Meet Bob Cooper, VFW Service Officer, Idaho

                           VFW Service Officer Bob Cooper

Bob Cooper spent 20 years in the Navy and served in the Western Pacific and Mediterranean as an aircraft structure mechanic.

When he separated, he filed his own VA claim and was denied.

“I didn’t know about service officers, so I went in alone,” said Cooper. “I was turned down because I didn’t know enough about the process.”

Now 57, Cooper is a VFW Service Officer for the State of Idaho.

“I always felt I wanted a career where I could contribute to making a difference in veterans’ lives,” said Cooper. “Being a service officer was the perfect fit.”

For the past eight years, Cooper has spent his days seeing four to 12 veterans and making up to 30 phone calls on behalf of his many clients.

One of Cooper’s most memorable cases was also his first—a Korean War veteran with knee problems.

“I helped him file, but he was denied. I sent a Notice of Disagreement to the Board of Veterans Affairs, and he was rated 20%, 10% for each knee,” said Cooper. “Then he developed ALS, and I was able to get his rating increased to 100%.”

Cooper also came through for a gentleman who served aboard a submarine.

“He had a back condition, PTSD, depression and panic disorder,” said Cooper. “Unfortunately, his claim was also denied. It took several years and many panicked phone calls from the veteran, but he was finally rated at 70% with Individual Unemployability. So many people had fallen short of helping him, but we got it done.”

Perhaps some of the hardest cases Cooper deals with are those of widows seeking Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.

“One widow came to me and told me she could never win,” said Cooper. “I told her that nothing is impossible, and sure enough we were able to get her benefits.”

Cooper has had much success in his cases, but he remains humble.

“It’s not about me,” said Cooper. “It’s about the veterans out there who fought for the benefits they deserve.”

Fortunately for Cooper, the Boise Regional Office has one of the fastest turnaround times for claims in the nation.

“I’ve been spoiled by Boise, but there are many problems within the VA system,” said Cooper. “Everyone knows that. But we are seeing pensions coming in quicker and many improvements have been made on the medical side.”

Cooper is maintaining hope that the system will be fixed. In the meantime, he hopes veterans will seek advice from a professional before filing a VA claim.

“Veterans are not alone,” said Cooper. “There are many people out there like me who are willing and ready to help them.”



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