From The Mailbag: Veterans Services Officers


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has many great benefits and programs, but sometimes it's hard to know which programs are right for you and your situation.  Even if you figure out what you need, the application process can be daunting.  Thankfully, you don't have to struggle alone.  Veterans Service Officers (VSO) may be able to help you find the information you need.

Dear Kate,

I'm trying to help a friend.  Her husband died from an illness that resulted from his military service.  At that time, she inquired about benefits and was told that she was not eligible.  She is struggling financially and discouraged. I think she must be eligible for some benefits, but I can't understand what the website is saying and they won't talk to me because I don't have permission to access her personal information.  Is there someone who can help her sort this out?



A VSO might be just what this person needs!

Dear Lou,

Your friend may benefit from a visit with a Veterans Service Officer (VSO.)  VSO help veterans and their families identify and apply for benefits from the VA.  They are employed by states, counties, and veterans organization such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion.  (Every state is different.)

You can find out more about veterans benefits, with links to appropriate state websites, at this webpage:  State Veteran's Benefits.

Thank you for helping your friend.


VSOs are a great resource for veterans and their families.  If you're struggling with the VA system, and don't know where to turn, check the list linked above to find your state or local VSO, or contact the nearest veterans organization.  These may include:

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • American Legion
  • Disabled American Veterans
  • Vietnam Veterans of America
  • Military Order of the Purple Heart
Have you ever received help from a VSO?  How did it go?  Any tips for the rest of us?

Fun fact:  my great-grandfather was a VSO after World War I.

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