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Hill Country VCSOs expand training, benefits knowledge to offer more service

Kerrr County VCSO Jenna Sanchez
Jenna Sanchez, Kerrr County Veteran County Service Officer

While working with veterans on benefits and services, Veteran County Service Officers (VCSOs) may discover a veteran needs or may qualify for more services than initially sought. Knowing what’s available and how to get it, including the various processes, programs and people involved, can be challenging. Especially given the number of programs available from the VA alone.

Recognizing this and to better serve veterans, VCSOs in the Hill Country came together seeking training from the Veterans Healthcare Administration (VHA) on things such as the Care Giver Program, travel payments, home health care, and other VHA services. This VHA training was in addition to the VCSOs usual training for disability compensations claims. Driving this and coordinating the new training is Kerr County VCSO and Air Force veteran Jenna Sanchez.

Kerrr County VCSO Jenna Sanchez
Jenna Sanchez, Kerrr County Veteran County Service Officer

“We must be able to provide not just assistance but knowledge of available programs for veterans on both the claims benefits and health care side,” said Sanchez. “We want to help ease the veteran experience and ensure they are aware of all programs to make a better quality of life. That is what we are here for.”

“VCSOs deal with many things that overlap into the VHA and they are expected to be the county experts,” said Mike Jaeger, TVC Claims Southwest District Manager and Army veteran. “Jenna canvassed the VCSOs in the Hill Country and they came to an agreement that they would like and needed some training from the VHA. She coordinated with the VHA professionals at the Kerrville VA Medical Center and they agreed to give her a day’s worth of training for the VCSO.”

In addition to the VHA training Sanchez coordinated with TVC Mentor, Trainer, and Liaison Leo Bravo (retired Army) and Jaeger to provide the additional training on various topics including how to appeal a VA claims decision and holding a mock Board of Veterans Appeal hearing.

“This enhances the knowledge of the VCSOs so they could conduct and appeal in a professional manner and so they can explain the various paths a veteran can take including the pros and cons for each,” said Jaeger. “This gives the veteran the information they need to make an informed decision on their claim and appeal.”

By coordinating with the VA and TVC, Sanchez put together a three-day training session on June 4-6, 2024. The training hours count towards the mandatory 12 hours of continual training all CBAs and VCSOs need on an annual basis to maintain the VA Accreditation.

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