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Hagan, Local Groups Help Veterans File For Benefits

6:29 PM, Aug 22, 2013   |    comments
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Jamestown, NC -- It's a story we've been on top of for about a year now. The Department of Veterans Administration backlog and improperly stored files.

Last year, boxes and stacks of paper were all over the VA office. And, these aren't just any papers, they're claims that our nation's war heroes filed to get benefits due to them. 

So, we asked why our state leader's weren't doing anything to help and eventually caught the attention of Sen. Kay Hagan.

Thursday, Sen. Hagan, the regional VA office in Winston-Salem, and local non-profits helped veterans fill out online E-benefits forms at GTCC. 

They also answered questions about new and existing claims and appeals.

Organizers say the goal of the E-benefits system is to make filing claims easier for veterans. And for some, it's a step in the right direction. 

"I think it's going to be a great tool for veterans," said Vietnam War Veteran Rickey Terry. "Hopefully it'll cut down on some of the wait and frustration that we have to deal with on a regular basis."

The workshop was free and open to the public. Organizers say events like this are necessary to fix the VA backlog. 

"Outreach events like this are absolutely critical," said E.J. McQuade, service center manager at the Winston-Salem regional VA office. "The partnership we have with our congressional stakeholders is key to service to veterans."

Hagan released this statement in a news release Thursday: 

"We must hold up our end of the bargain for veterans who have bravely sacrificed so much for our country," she said.  "Veterans should receive the benefits they've earned in a timely manner. The online e-Benefits program marks an important milestone in helping our veterans access healthcare, disability pay and other benefits more effectively and efficiently, but we must continue to take every step possible to reduce the unacceptable backlog of claims at the VA."

The Winston-Salem regional branch of the Department of Veterans Administration was behind on 30-thousand claims when we checked in last year. They've since put a dent in that number...but there's still work to do. 

WFMY News 2/Sen. Kay Hagan

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