Starke County Veterans Service Officer Urges Vets to Seek Earned Benefits

Starke County Veterans Service Officer Terry Turner is urging veterans to take advantage of disability benefits, because now, he said, they are easier than ever to obtain and veterans are eligible for up to 12 months of back-pay.

Turner said there have been a lot of changes in how disability benefits are being handled by the VA.

“Right now, if you’re able to turn in a fully developed claim, you can get as much as 12 months of back-pay, and it’s really a good time to seek benefits; if you’re a veteran and you have some medical problems that relate to service because it seems they’ve done a lot of work on the process of exploring whether your claims are good or not, and I really think that even though there’s still a tremendous backlog, it’s a lot easier to get your claims through,” said Turner.

Turner said every day you miss filing a claim, you’re missing out on money that you deserve. In particular, he said, if you’re an Iraq or Afghanistan veteran, you have five years of medical care owed to you from the day you leave the service.

“So it’s a good thing to just stop in the Veterans Service Office, it’s in the annex building, which is just north of the courthouse. Easy to find, you just walk straight in, the Veterans Service Office is to the right, just past the canteen. And right now, I am the one working in there because Gordon Richie, the regular veterans service officer, is out on surgery,” said Turner.

He said the best thing to do if you’re a veteran is to stop in the office and get information on what you have earned as a veteran – everything from education benefits to medical benefits, Turner explained.

The office is open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.