SERVING OUR VETERANS: The North Dakota Veterans Administration Department Service Officers
I still notice, at times, there is a misconception about what authority I have with the Veterans Administration (VA) as a County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO). I do not work for the VA. I was hired by the Pierce County Commissioners and work for the county assisting our local veterans with their military benefits. I assist them with the paperwork needed to process their benefits and compensation claims. I do not have the authority to advocate their claims for them before the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA).
Advocating claims before the VBA is done by Department Service Officers with the North Dakota Veterans Administration at the Regional VA Office in Fargo. The first thing a qualifying veteran must do in order to submit a claim, is to choose, in writing, a Department Service Organization to be his or her advocate. Whoever the veteran chooses will then act as their power of attorney (POA) before the VBA. The paperwork for the claim(s) the veteran is filing, in which I assist in the preparation, are sent on to the selected Department Service Officer. It is the job of the Department Service Officer to advocate for the veteran, before the VBA, to see that all earned and entitled benefits are received.
The veteran can choose from several service organizations to act as their POA for their claim. These service organizations include: the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and the American Veterans (AMVETS). The veteran does not have to be a member of the service organization he chooses. Each of these organizations has an individual and staff at the Fargo VA Regional Office to handle claims. These individuals are accredited by the National VA and the North Dakota VA.
I have personally met with most of our North Dakota Department Service Officers. Those I have not met in person, I have had phone contact. They are veterans as well. Some are male and some female. It is my impression they are all highly trained, professional, and willing to work hard to see their fellow veterans receive the benefits they have earned.
Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions on this subject or any other veteran issues. Again, I am in my office on the lower level of the courthouse, on Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., or anytime by appointment.
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