Experts on veteran benefits coming to Orcas

by Meg Massey

Orcas Community Resource Center

The team at the Orcas Community Resource Center (OCRC) welcomes all veterans in the islands of San Juan County to the Veteran’s Assistance Event to be held on Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m.–4 p.m., in the Orcas Island Public School’s cafeteria and library.

Ten highly trained specialists from the Veteran Navigators Program will be on hand, ready to assist veterans applying for benefits which match their individual eligibility. Reservations are not necessary; veterans need only sign in when they arrive at the public school‘s cafeteria.

Veterans: please bring a copy of your DD-214.

The DD-214 helps the navigators track down benefits which can vary among veterans. For instance, veterans of different age groups are sometimes eligible for different permanent benefits. Understanding the present financial circumstances of each veteran can also help navigators identify applicable assistance.

The volunteer veteran navigators are true experts, very familiar with a broad range of permanent benefits, pensions and stipends. With a deep understanding of both programs and the standards of eligibility, navigators have been exceptionally successful at finding additional aid for veterans. Some veterans will learn for the first time about lesser-known programs that provide supplemental income.

The navigators will meet with veterans one-on-one in the school library. Applications completed and signed on May 19 will receive the navigators’ attention again the following week when they assemble to prepare each application for submission. The service of the navigators goes further. They will also keep tabs on each veteran’s applications, contact veterans if more documentation is needed and follow the progress of each application right through to resolution.

The veteran navigators are making a special trip to Orcas to assist veterans here in our county and will not be able to return soon. However, veterans who miss this local opportunity can seek the assistance of the veteran navigators at their monthly gatherings in Whatcom County.

If you’d like more information or if you’d like to let the OCRC team know that you plan on coming, please call them at 360-376-3184.