By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Some disabled military veterans return home unaware they qualify for benefits, others know they qualify but can’t seem to access them.
Both situations leave hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table that otherwise would go to help those who became disabled while serving this country.
That’s where the Disabled American Veterans comes in. The organization works with former servicemen and women to help them obtain the aid they’re owed.
DAV has chapters throughout the country, including one regional office in Tupelo. And on Wednesday the group’s national team will come to help sort through some of the toughest cases.
“There will be representatives to sit down and look at their situation, and they will go over whatever they have and answer questions,” said Lee County DAV Adjutant Demming Moon.
The national group will be at the DAV building at 1494 S. Veterans Blvd. between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Moon said this is the first time the national team has been dispatched to the Tupelo chapter, which serves all of Northeast Mississippi and has some 450 members, all disabled veterans.
But helping former military personnel get benefits is a year-round mission for the local group. Moon and Commander Robert Bramlett said they’ve seen numerous veterans receive money years after the payments should have first begun.
“There was a guy, was ignored for years, a World Ward II ex-POW, and he didn’t get no benefits,” said Bramlett, who also serves as the chapter’s service officer. “I was a witness to all the help he got. He should have gotten help 40 years ago.”
Moon recalled another World War II veteran who had lost his leg but never filed a claim. After going through the DAV, he got his first check of $40,000.
Anyone disabled while serving in the military is eligible, Demming said, noting that the term “disability” covers a wider range of problems than the term “injury.”
“Some people don’t even know if their disability qualifies, and that’s the paperwork we’ll help file to get a compensation, pension, physical or review of the records they need,” Moon said.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.