Disabled American Veterans help Vets get Benefits - WRBL

Disabled American Veterans help Vets get Benefits

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OPELIKA, Ala. -

Disabled veterans filing claims can have a difficult time getting all of their benefits because of confusing paperwork. The Disabled American Veterans provide free services to help veterans file claims and understand the appeals process. They were at the Goodwill Career Center in Opelika Friday morning to provide veterans with this service.

Eddie Hodges came to the Disabled American Veterans mobile office around 8:30 Friday morning to get help with his claims. He served in the Vietnam war and said he has been filing a malaria claim since 1973. He came to the mobile office Friday as a final resort.

"I'm trying again. I don't want to wait until I die and then I won't be able to get nothing somebody else will use it not me," said Hodges.

The DAV group helps people like Hodges understand their claims and file the appropriate paperwork. The group sees themselves as advocated for disabled veterans and many of them have personal experience filing claims.

Dan Bloodworth, a current DAV member, applied for benefits on his own in 2003 but had difficulties getting them. He then went to the group for help.

"If the DAV had not kept the records I would've lost my whole claim. The VA lost my claim 3 times but because I went through the DAV I was able to get my benefits back to the original date," said Bloodworth.

He now helps other veterans with their claims. Bloodworth said not knowing how to file and getting the wrong advice is how a lot of veterans miss out on benefits. He says they should always come to the group for help before filling out paperwork.

"We tell everybody filing with the VA by yourself is like a lawyer representing himself in court. It's not a good idea," said Bloodworth.

Hodges is hoping the group can help him finally get his compensation and Bloodworth said they don't promise results but they do promise to try their best.

"I'm 100% on their side," said Bloodworth.

Friday was the last stop for the mobile assistance unit but veterans can stop by the Army Reserve Center in Opelika every Tuesday.

That address is 2001 Pepperell Parkway Opelika, Alabama 36801. They help with claims from 9am until noon. You can also contact Commander Eugene Benford at 334-663-1520

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