Commentary: Veteran benefits are available; let us help

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John DeMello, Southington Veterans Committee
Phone: (860) 276-6299
Email: Demellofam@gmail.com

As the Christmas holiday passed and New Year 2020 rolled in, I thought, “How can peace ever happen on this earth?”

There is no way peace treaties, disarmament treaties, or any other human instrument can bring about peace. These things mean nothing when one nation desires the land and resources of another.

I realized the number of people actually responsible for the decision for peace or war can usually fit comfortably inside a large room. World leaders only occasionally represent the best of what humanity has to offer, so they usually have the same failings and weaknesses as the rest of us. They get angry when they shouldn’t. They let their attitudes motivate them, and they are more concerned with doing what’s popular than what’s right.

We send our military troops all over the world. We ask these peace keepers to perform unimaginable tasks and to return home and transition into civilian life. These young troops have seen the most horrific scenes and are expected to forget and try to live as normal a life as they can.

We have seen many young and old warriors come into our office at the town hall to seek help, advice, guidance or just to talk about issues in their marriages that are failing, not being able to find employment, housing and much more. Some veterans just want to talk and tell you their stories or just to tell you something they want to let another Veteran know what they experienced.

The requests for military medals and records are simple to take care of. The hard part is getting these warriors to the resources they need. We are seeing veterans that never utilized the VA systems, either state or federal for various reasons, some thought that another veteran deserved the benefits more or just simply they used the benefits from their civilian employer. As years went on, these heroes became ill from exposure to airborne hazards, chemicals, hearing related issues and much more from their military service.

There are various benefits that the VA provides, “Disability Compensation” is a tax fee benefit paid to veterans for a disability or disabilities that either:

  • Arose during service;
  • Was worsened or aggravated by service; or
  • Is presumed by the VA to be related to military service.

To receive disability compensation, you must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.

“VA Pension” is a tax-free benefit paid to wartime Veterans with limited or no income, either aged 65 or older, or who are permanently and totally disabled due to a nonservice-connected causes. Seriously disabled or housebound veterans receiving pension may also qualify for an additional aid and attendance or housebound benefits.

We have assisted veterans and their families in various ways depending upon their qualifications. I want to indicate that just because you’re a veteran does not mandate your eligible for a benefit another veteran might have obtained.

If you’re a veteran experiencing an emotional crisis, please call (911) or 1-800-273-8255 and push No. 1 for immediate assistance.

John DeMello is a member of the Southington Veterans Committee. The committee can be reached at Town Hall, 75 Main St., by phone at (860) 276-6299, or by email at SouthingtonVets@southington.org.