On Nov. 13, VA’s San Juan regional office teamed up with the Department of Defense at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, for the first Veterans Appreciation Day Claims Clinic. Throughout the day, we had the opportunity to provide educational briefings, answer questions from Veterans, Servicemembers, beneficiaries and stakeholders, and discuss issues that concern the Veteran community in Puerto Rico. We also introduced Wendy L. Torres as the newly appointed director of the San Juan regional office.
An area with tables surrounding the community club ballroom was designated to provide handouts, answer questions related to benefits, services and the mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs. There was representation of the national cemetery, vet center, fiduciary unit, BDD, quickstart, IDES, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, Education Program, women’s coordinator, Caribbean healthcare minority outreach groups, spinal cord, nursing program and residents. We also provided a flu shot and blood pressure clinic. Fort Buchanan’s morale, recreation and welfare programs were also at hand.
A crew from the public contact team, as well as VSRs, RVSRs and DROs worked in the Claims Clinic.
We had a total of 634 participants of which 165 Veterans, Servicemembers, and family members were seen at the designated Public Contact Area. We received the following claims and correspondence:
- 39 appeals received/processed
- 85 rating claims received/processed
- 3 IDES/BDD claims received, processed
- 33 Veterans or beneficiaries with general inquiries were provided benefits orientation
- 6 dependency claims received/processed
What we paid:
- 15 claims were rated and/or authorized
- 3 dependency claims paid
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment provided a briefing to those in attendance. The VRCs in attendance were able to register 26 Veterans who were gathering information regarding Chapter 31 and VR&E services. Veterans filed nine (9) VAF-1900 and all were scanned to VARO to begin the eligibility process. There were two (2) Chapter 31 entitlement decisions made. All Veterans seen at the event were provided appointments for November 18th to complete the VR&E Orientation and Evaluation process.
Fiduciary interviewed 28 visitors who requested an orientation on what exactly is the Fiduciary Program.
Education had the opportunity to provide a briefing to those in attendance as well as provide additional information to 18 Veterans. Specific information on Certificate of Eligibility was also provided to eight (8) of those that stopped by her booth.
VetCenter provided a briefing on Readjustment Counseling and had their Mobile Van on site. Around 80 Veterans and families visited the information booth. Ten (10) Veterans received scheduled appointments to visit the San Juan VetCenter. The Mobile Van was visited by 50 Veterans.
The Caribbean Healthcare System provided an information booth for their Outreach Group, Nursing group and the Spinal Cord Injury Service. They also provided flu-shots and blood pressure check-ups.
By Sharon Delgado, San Juan Regional Office Public Affairs Officer