Veterans encouraged to attend benefits meeting

 

DOVER — A series of events hosted by Rep. John Carney, D-Del., are intended to help connect veterans to Veterans Affairs and related organizations, allowing individual citizens to network and gain information about benefits.

Benefits stretch across a wide range. Disabled veterans can receive compensation, and others can use some of the many services offered by the government to receive job help or counseling.

John Carney

John
Carney

On July 20, several officials will be in Dover for a planned “office hours” event, according to Rep. Carney’s office.

From 10 a.m. to noon at American Legion Fox Post No. 2 at 835 S. Bay Road, representatives from the Wilmington Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Veterans Benefits Administration, the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs, $tand by Me, the Delaware Health and Social Services, the Delaware Department of Labor, the Delaware National Guard, the American Legion and the Food Bank of Delaware will be present.

Veterans are invited to attend and speak to an official about their situation, particularly if they are waiting to be seen by the VA.

The event is not intended to be a town hall but will be a more private gathering where veterans directly can receive information and assistance. Rather than simply listen to high-ranking officials talk, attendees can connect with the VA and others on a personal level, a spokesman for Rep. Carney said.

“We’re trying to increase visibility and coordination with the VA services on a variety of issue and help reduce the backlog of caseloads,” said Ron Sarg, chair of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs.

The group has been working with members of the Delaware’s congressional delegation for years, attending job fairs and helping to connect with veterans.

In a Facebook chat earlier this month, Rep. Carney chimed in on pressing issues confronting veterans.

News in the past year has publicly revealed tens of thousands of veterans have had to wait months for treatment with the VA — or never received any help. The Wilmington medical center was one of dozens of facilities investigated by the federal government.

The report has not been released.

In May, the three members of Delaware’s congressional delegation wrote a letter to the VA secretary requesting more information

“It is critical that the VA presents a full and timely explanation of the allegation related to the Wilmington VAMC in order to restore the trust of Delaware veterans and taxpayers,” they wrote.

Rep. Carney also is hosting similar gatherings in New Castle on today and in Millsboro on July 27.

According to officials, there are nearly 80,000 veterans in Delaware. Lawrence Kirby, executive director of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs, said he expects about 100 attendees at each event.

Individuals from Rep. Carney’s office have been publicizing the event by putting out fliers and running advertisements. It’s the first such event hosted by Rep. Carney, according to a spokesman.

“What we want to do is marry those benefits to the veterans,” Mr. Kirby said.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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