This is a question all of us can wrap around and help with and we need to. In recognition of Veterans’ Day, I had shared a message of gratitude for the veterans on NMC’s staff, those in the families of our staff, and all those who have served. We live in an amazing country of opportunity, with much credit to our veterans.
Later, Tim Comings, a clinician in the NMC Emergency Department, shared that in his work, he finds that “many veterans pass through our doors who are not signed up for benefits through the VA (Veterans’ Administration) because they are not aware of benefits available to them, have misinformation about eligibility or don’t know where to start to explore their eligibility.” Tim has worked with a VA representative and developed an informational sheet to help veterans connect to the benefits they have earned. It includes the following examples of who might be eligible for veterans’ benefits:
- “If you have ever served two years of continuous active duty, you may be eligible for benefits or services.
- If you served in a combat zone after 9/11/2001, you may be eligible for benefits or services.
- If you served in the National Guard or Reserves and were deployed, you may be eligible for benefits or services.
- If you served in the National Guard or Reserves and are over the age of 60, you may be eligible for benefits or services.
- Some family members of wartime veterans may be eligible for benefits or services.
- All veterans or family members are welcome to contact the VA at any time to inquire about benefits or services for veterans and their family members.”
Tim explains that to check on their eligibility for benefits, individuals can call the VA Hospital in White River at (802) 295 9363 and follow the instructions for “eligibility” to check on what benefits and services you qualify for and get signed up. They can also call the VA Lakeside Clinic in Burlington at (802) 657 7000 and press extension 3 for “eligibility” to check on what benefits and services you qualify for and get signed up. If a veteran needs additional assistance navigating the system, Tim encourages them to connect directly with Stephen Plumb of the VA in White River at (802) 295 9363, ext. 4709.
Nearly all of us have family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or acquaintances who are veterans. In honor of their service, let us each reach out to those in our lives and make sure they know how to access the health benefits they have earned. We owe them that for all they have done for us and our country.
— Jill Berry Bowen, RN, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer