St. Louis County is home to 18,340 veterans (based on 2013 records, the most recent year available.) That’s more than nine percent of the population! St. Louis County’s Veterans Service Office works with hundreds of these veterans every year, and we’d like to work with even more.
Our job is to make sure veterans and their families receive the benefits they earned through their service. The advice I give to all veterans is to give us a call. You may not realize you’re eligible for certain benefits. You may have even been denied in the past, but laws and benefits change, so you may be eligible now. Two years ago, we worked with a Vietnam veteran who has a presumptive cancer, meaning it is presumed link to Agent Orange exposure. He’d previously been denied benefits, but due to our efforts, the Veterans Administration ruled a “Clear and Unmistakable Error” had occurred and awarded the man more than $300,000 in back pay. More recently, we worked with a veteran who has Parkinson’s disease and got him service connected, which means his disease or disability is recognized as being connected to his military service. As a result, this veteran received a retroactive check for $42,000.
A disability linked to military service can come in a variety of forms ranging from chronic knee pain to mental health conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Hearing loss and Tinnitus, a noise or ringing in the ears, are by far the most common disabilities we see. In Vietnam vets, we often see Type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, prostate cancer and coronary artery disease, all of which are considered service connected.
Veterans are eligible to receive disability compensation if they are determined to be at least ten percent disabled because of injuries or diseases that incurred in or were