Benefits

Getting disability compensation

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Excerpt from "More than a Warrior" by Sierra Jiminez

Jared is among the more than 2.2 million servicemen and women who have served in the Global War on Terror. As of March 2010, 1.1 million veterans from the war were eligible for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs; however, only 442,000 of them had filed claims for war-related injury, according to the group Veterans for Common Sense, a nonprofit organization.

More than a Warrior

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By Michelle San Miguel
News21 / Syracuse University

Jared Starkel was walking past the dairy case at Prince’s Center — the grocery store where he worked — when the “threat” appeared out of nowhere.

An Arab man was coming toward him.

Jared’s mind processed the data: Turban. Beard. Blue, flowing garment.

Can you hear me?

Jared gets his ears checked in Spokane for his VA benefits. Photo by: AJ Chavar
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For more than half an hour, Jared Starkel waited nervously in the waiting room of a hospital clinic. Just a week ago, Starkel got his first sign of getting his benefits—a packet of paperwork in the mail from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Today, with no more than two days notice, Jared sat waiting to have his hearing examined for his benefits claim. 

Waiting for benefits

Jared Starkel looks through his 28 page VA paperwork. Photo by: AJ Chavar
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It's been almost four months since Jared Starkel first applied for his medical benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Monday, Jared got his first sign of aid: a letter in the mail acknowledging his application.

Struggle for Benefits

Veteran's Application for Compensation and/or Pension
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As Sherri mentioned, we went to the Lone Star Cafe in Tonasket, where Mike Stewart and Dale White routinely help veterans with their benefits claims.

Getting benefits can be especially difficult for veterans struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, White said. The rules and regulations for benefits claims are complicated and numerous. Having an informed third party help with claims can make it a lot easier.

"Most of them take one look at (the paperwork), toss it in a bag and that's where it stays," White says.

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