Surry County Veterans Services offers informational sessions for veterans

By Andy Winemiller -

There are veterans in Surry County who don’t realize they could be taking advantage of thousands of dollars in benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

One official is hoping to reach out to as many of those veterans as possible.

Surry County Veterans Services Director Mike Scott said his department will host two informational sessions regarding V.A. disability compensation and pension on Friday.

The first two-hour session will begin at 3 p.m. on Friday, and the second session will start at 6 p.m. Both will take place at the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion meeting hall in Veterans Memorial Park, which is located at 691 West Lebanon St. in Mount Airy.

“Many veterans don’t understand the law and the technicalities regarding compensation and pension,” said Scott, noting some veterans get disgusted after a claim is denied.

While Scott and his staff won’t be filing claims for veterans on Friday, he said the sessions should “give everybody a base-line knowledge and understanding of the process.”

Scott’s goal is to reach out to as many veterans, especially those who might not stop by his office, as possible, and he said Friday won’t be the first time he has held such a session.

In November Scott played host to a similar event geared toward dependents and surviving spouses of veterans. He said about 120 people showed up to that event.

“I wanted to make that the subject of the first one because spouses and dependents are often left behind,” said Scott, who noted the session helped to encourage many dependents and surviving spouses to stop by his office and file for the benefits to which they are entitled.

He said he’s hoping for a similar outcome from Friday’s events — more veterans filing to draw the benefits owed to them.

“There is nothing like the feeling you get from assisting a veteran in getting all the benefits they truly deserve,” said Scott.

Scott noted any veteran who received an honorable or under honorable conditions discharge could be entitled to disability compensation and pension benefits.

According to the VA, disability compensation is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. Pension can be paid to a veteran who served at least one day during a wartime period and is 65 years old or older, is totally or permanently disabled, is a patient in a skilled nursing setting or receives Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.

Scott will explain the process of filing for these benefits, which could add up to thousands of dollars a month for qualifying veterans, in hopes of getting those veterans the benefits to which they are entitled.

He added he hopes to hold such events on a quarterly basis, focusing on a different facet of VA benefits at each event.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.