Many Beneficial Veterans Services Soon to be Offered to Civilians
The American Veterans Coalition (AVCO) was started in 2014 by a US Navy veteran who struggled for 27 years with the VA to ascertain and secure maximum benefits available to service members suffering from PTSD. That ordeal paid off well for him, and inspired him to share the knowledge he attained with other service members.
Since its humble beginnings, AVCO has secured many successes for its members. One member, who for decades had been receiving only 50% of the maximum benefits allowed, is now receiving full benefits (100%). This member also received “back pay” for the many years since the time of his original application, a value in the hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Other members have received a variety of benefits, most of which they did not even realize were available, or did not know that they were eligible for. One of these included funeral benefits (including transportation to military burial sites in the US). Others included a variety of spousal and child benefits.
One major positive development in the long history of the founder’s struggle with the VA came from the VA itself: When former Senator Chuck Hagel became Secretary of Defense under President Obama in 2013, he declared that veterans no longer had to provide service documents verifying their claims. This came about as a result of many complaints from veterans. They claimed that once they realized they had a valid claim to receive benefits, so much time had elapsed between the traumatic event itself and the time of their filing a claim, records were difficult if not impossible to obtain from the military. In other words, Hagel required the VA to accept “self reports” from veterans regarding the events resulting in their trauma.
Prior to that time, the VA required that layers of documentation be submitted with a plethora of forms to verify their claims. Many veterans went through months, sometimes years, contacting military sources in an attempt to secure the necessary documentation.
One person attending the September 9th PTSD meeting at AVCO headquarters in Ensenada pointed out that the VA’s official refusal to process this veteran’s claims was due to lack of information available from military sources. Yet a lawyer working on the veteran’s behalf was able to verify the veteran’s claims from reputable sources by performing a simple Google search.
In any event, AVCO’s record of successes in helping veterans on many levels speaks for itself The next step is to offer those services to civilian expats living in Mexico.
The first step in that direction will be the outcome of AVCO’s application for the Mexican equivalent of the US 501(c)3 tax-exempt status for a non-profit organization (it is already a tax-exempt US entity). Once that status is secured, American civilians living here may also benefit from the services offered by AVCO,
Those services include evaluations for PTSD and other psychological conditions, IQ assessments, depression and addiction, and directions to a variety of other services available to treat those issues.
Job training services are also available.
Since local treatment is available for physical and mental conditions, the long journey to the US, which for some can be an arduous and costly experience, becomes unnecessary.
Bi-monthly PTSD-members only meetings are held at AVCO headquarters in Ensenada, during which members exchange experiences and solutions.
Contact AVCO @ 52.646.244.8431 or www.avcosd.org.