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The range that Claims helps includes a snowbird, veterans on weekend retreat & surviving spouse

Thalia Hernandez.CBA.cropped photo

A winter (snowbird)Texan checks in at the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) Claims office in Harlingen and gets a rating upgrade. Veterans on a weekend retreat meet a TVC Claims Benefits Advisor and get help with their VA health care and claims issues. A CBA goes cross country to advocate for a surviving spouse. All are recent examples of the TVC Claims team connecting with veterans and providing a range of assistance, free.

A veteran residing in Harlingen during winter contacted the Claims team there in hopes of an increase or possibly Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU). The team did an Intent to file, to preserve the effective date, then researched his record and recommended schedular 100% rather than TDIU because the medical evidence was there. They put him in for several adjunct conditions and ultimately made him 100% Permanent & Total (P&T). His spouse can now receive Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) and education benefits (Chapter 35 benefits) in addition to all the other 100%P&T benefits.

“This was all done virtually via phone with the veteran. It involved multiple appointments with multiple team members, and a well-researched and documented claim to the VA. This is great customer service and teamwork,” said Mike Jaeger, TVC Claims Southwest District Manager, in praise of the Harlingen/Rio Grande Valley team. The team members are, pictured below from left, TVC Claims Benefits Advisors (CBAs) Thalia Hernandez and Frank Martinez, Office Supervisor Roberto Dimas and Claims Rio Grande Area Supervisor Bryan Brown.

Guadalupe County CBA Levi Koepp volunteered with Military Warriors Support Foundation to assist at a warrior retreat in March 2021 at the Pawelek Ranch in Panna Maria, Texas, located southeast of San Antonio. During the retreat, not only did Koepp get to assist with helping combat injured veterans adjust to civilian life through peer mentoring and recreational outings, he assisted them with VA health care and claims related issues on a personal level.

“Even when off duty and volunteering Levi keeps the mission of helping Texas Veterans with their VA benefits foremost,” said Jaeger. Pictured from left are Jaeger and Koepp.

After talking with Koepp about the role of Texas Veterans Commission, three veterans made TVC their VA representative utilizing eBenefits with the plans of taking advantage of the programs TVC offers to help them through their transition into civilian life.

Though stationed in San Antonio, CBA Kerrigan Glaspie went extra miles to assist a surviving spouse experiencing financial hardship prior to her submission of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Benefits. Glaspie contacted the the Pension Management Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to expedite the DIC/Surviving Pension Claim. It was approved within days and $5,000 was released into the spouse’s account. Pictured is Glaspie.

Want this kind of assistance with Claims? The TVC Claims team offers free assistance and representation for veterans.  Find the TVC Claims team near you and make an appointment at https://www.tvc.texas.gov/claims_appointments/ .

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