Alabama Veterans access VA benefits, services at Veterans Experience Action Center

VEACs brings direct access to VA and non-VA resources to your community


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Nearly a thousand Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors attended a Veterans Experience Action Center (VEAC) in Montgomery, Ala., on Feb. 5, 2020. Those in attendance received direct access to VA’s benefits and services. The one-stop shop for Veterans brought together VA and community resources with one goal: to serve Veterans on the spot.

This was the second year the community held the action center. Seventy local organizations provided a host of services at the VEAC, including on the spot job interviews, flu inoculations, free haircuts, access to healthcare organizations, mental health services, and dozens of other local assistance programs. The vast outpouring and variety of support ensured that VEAC participants knew the community was there to support them.

Veterans Experience Action Centers are different than other outreach events because Veterans are able to file claims, ask questions, and apply to VA benefits and healthcare within minutes of showing up. In addition to the amazing community organizations and Veteran Service Organizations in attendance, more than 50 VA employees were also on site to process actions immediately. Even members of the the Air Force showed up, directing Veterans to booths and cooking hot dogs!

Montgomery Alabama VEAC

Veterans received direct support from VA and other organizations in attendance.

A Veteran in attendance said, “I came here for some information, and all I really wanted was this form just so I can know what to do… and I ended up filing my claim today!”

TVA again held the event at the Multiplex’ Cramton Bowl, this year with more than 70 booths. Some of the organizations included Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Walgreens, Humana Health, and many more.

Some Veteran find that VA processes can be overwhelming, or that the eligibility or rules and regulations are hard to understand. Instead of waiting for Veterans to come to VA, VA is getting into the community where Veterans reside. VA will also be setting up these events across the country. In fact, several VA leaders from Kentucky were in attendance to better prepare for their upcoming Veterans Experience Action Center in Lexington, Ky.

In action

One Veteran showed up just before the event wrapped up. She was in tears, sharing her struggles with transition to civilian life, PTSD and Military Sexual Trauma as a military retiree. She had recently submitted a compensation claim but did not understand her award letter. Veterans Benefits Administration employees explained to her what the claim’s decision meant, and then also shared that she was eligible for concurrent military and VA benefits.

For a list of future VA outreach events, including Veterans Experience Action Centers, visit: https://www.va.gov/outreach-and-events/events/

Author

Tim Hudak

  joined the VA in December 2013 and is on the Veterans Experience Office team. Tim, a Chicago-land native enlisted in the Marine Corps straight out of high school. As an intelligence analyst he deployed to Al Anbar province, Iraq with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 in 2006 and 2008. After the Marine Corps, Tim used the GI Bill to earn a degree in Intelligence Studies from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and co-founded the university’s first student Veteran organization. Tim is active in many Veteran organizations.

Comments

  1. Colleen Milling    

    How to find out if an event in Mississippi will be in future? I just relocated six months from TN.
    It was hard to obtain information at the time.

    1. Tim Hudak    

      Hi Colleen, for a list of future VA outreach events, including Veterans Experience Action Centers, visit: https://www.va.gov/outreach-and-events/events/.

  2. Jason Kintz    

    I am to needing help. My PTSD is flaring up more than ever these days. I have applied for the rating and have been denied. Thw reason I get is that nothing I say happened in Iraq. I was apart o the once 557th med ground ambulance co. I am now living place to place Ithaca my two dogs with no support where I am. My life flipped upside down after I woke up and found my roommate passed away who was also a veteran of 20 yrs. It’s hard for me to socialize with to many people do to my social anxiety and ect. I don’t want to be homeless or living like this with people who are not trustworthy. Even harder to find a place that allows two big dogs. Please lead me to the right direction.

    1. Tim Hudak    

      Hi Jason, I recommend you call the White House VA Hotline: 1-855-948-2311.

  3. Jeff Harris    

    I live in TN and would love to see something like this in my neck of the woods. How does one find out if such a program is offered locally?

    1. Tim Hudak    

      Hi Jeff, For a list of future VA outreach events, including Veterans Experience Action Centers, visit: https://www.va.gov/outreach-and-events/events/.

  4. Dane Martindale    

    Thank god for the VA….VFW in Thailand that helped and gave me hope. Now to the DAV in the Philippines that shows me care and support with a smile. I would love to return that care back to Vets in need with hope and a hand.

  5. William Jones    

    I have lived in Alabama for just over a year and have never heard of this before. How do you know when this event will occure. Veterans Experience Action Center (VEAC)

    1. Angela Carreon    

      Yes, William Jones…me too. I need help – I’m not getting – also! I’m in Mobile and in search of someone local that can help me. Not getting answers or support with local VA ANYTHING – every local organization/facility is a TOTAL FAILURE.

  6. Kim Moore    

    I am so glad the VA is reaching out to Veterans in the community! I have helped in Memphis with similar events and know how much they are appreciated. I am not in the city anymore, and miss being close to my VA hospital and the services a large community offers. But the community care people have been excellent in making sure my health care needs are met! I am blessed that Memphis Va has such a good Community Care Team!

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