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Do not pay for VA benefits assistance

It can be difficult navigating the government bureaucracy to obtain veterans disability and other benefits, but all it should cost you is time, not money. The state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs recently advised veterans, active service members and their families not to pay for assistance to file paperwork that they can submit themselves or get free help with.

"Through the years we have seen businesses and individuals who offer 'free' help applying for veterans benefits, but in the end they issue a bill under the guise of financial planning or some other service rendered," Brig. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania's adjutant general, said in a consumer advisory last month. "Understanding and learning about benefits can be challenging at times, and the last thing our veterans and their families need to worry about is an unexpected charge for something that should be provided for free," Carrelli said.

You can obtain free help or guidance from your county veterans service or affairs office, the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and service organizations such as the American Legion, VFW and Disabled American Veterans. Disability benefits are among the most well-known benefits offered by the federal government. But there are other benefits as well, some of which can be obtained at the state and local level, such as real estate tax exemption for disabled veterans. A list of the benefits that are available is on the state department's website, www.dmva.pa.gov/veteransaffairs. A good starting point if you are seeking benefits is your county veterans service or affairs office. You can find a list of them here bit.ly/2o09hYZ. [Source: The Morning Call — Paul Muschick — April 12, 2017]

As always please see your local County Veterans Service Officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by email at david.anderson@co.wadena.mn.us and as always have a great week.

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