Veterans Hotline: Defining a veteran

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In general, a veteran is anyone who served in one of the branches of the Armed Forces or was granted veteran status by the U.S. government.

Examples of the latter include, but are not limited to, Women Army Service Pilots and some Merchant Marines from World War II.

In all, more than 30 organizations have been granted with this special veterans status since the Civil War.

There are many benefits available to veterans. Veterans should educate themselves on what they are eligible for and stay updated if eligibility rules change.

Next, take advantage of those benefits.

Many veterans feel that because they have a good job and insurance, they do not need to enroll.

But, according to staff members at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, veterans are coming in who didn’t enroll and now have serious health issues or big medical bills that might have been avoidable.

To find out about benefits, call the toll free number at 1-800-827-1000 or the veterans service officer in your county.

Discharge papers prove eligibility for veterans

The basic documentation a veteran needs to prove eligibility is his or her discharge papers.

Until the end of World War II, each military service had its own form.

After World War II, the Department of Defense created a consolidated discharge form, the DD214 for all services.

The form provides proof of service, and if filled out correctly, provides the details veterans need to qualify for various programs.

Unfortunately, a warehouse fire destroyed many veteran records in 1973.

Although it is generally possible to prove these veterans served, confirming details of service may not be possible if veterans do not have original documents.

Historical and national dates of note

• March 1, 1864 — Ulysses Grant promoted to lieutenant general after successful campaigns. The promotion made him the supreme commander of Union forces.

• March 4, 1861 — Abraham Lincoln inaugurated as 18th president.

• March 6, 1899 — Bayer aspirin patented in Germany.

• March 7, 1876 — Alexander Graham Bell patents the first telephone (which many, many years later, enabled me to have a job for 43 years.)

Census Bureau jobs available for veterans

The Census Bureau is taking applications for people to conduct the census this year.

Veterans interested can get a 5- or 10-point lead over civilians applying for the same job. Call 1-866-861-2010 or visit www.2010censusjobs.gov

Wages are paid plus mileage.

World War II Honor Flight scheduled in May

If you are a World War II veteran, or you know of one, the applications for the Honor Flight this May are available in my office.

The flight is free and the veterans I have talked to said it is well worth it.

Caregivers can also go on the flight for a nominal fee to cover the trip, food and lodging.

Donations can be made by organizations and individuals to defray the costs of the flight.

Craig Telehealth Clinic services available

The Craig Community Telehealth Clinic offers U.S. veterans state-of-the-art technology as well as onsite nursing support and remote practitioner availability. The goal is to provide an extensive array of health care services to veterans in a setting that is accessible and professional. To appropriately plan and coordinate your visit, appointments must be made. The clinic cannot handle emergency needs. Flu shot walk-ins are still ongoing for veterans enrolled in the VAMC Healthcare system. Call 824-6721.

For information on these programs and/or other veterans’ benefits, call or stop in the Moffat County VSO office at 480 Barclay St. (west of the Bank of Colorado parking lot).

Call 970-824-3246 or fax 970-824-7108. E-mail veterans@moffatcounty.net. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Other times can be arranged by appointment only.

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