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16 June 2014, Greensburg—Veterans and their family members in Westmoreland County now have a new weapon in their arsenals to access benefits and navigate the sometimes tricky maze of veterans benefits. With funding from the Pennsylvania Veterans Trust, Westmoreland County Veterans Affairs is now offering mobile outreach and claims assistance to community groups throughout the county. This service will help those for whom accessing assistance at the County Courthouse or at satellite offices in New Kensington or Monessen presents a challenge.
Former Army medic Laura Offerman joined the department this week as the new part-time Outreach Coordinator. Ms. Offerman, an Iraq War veteran, began her association with the County as a work study student while at Westmoreland County Community College and Seton Hill University. She states, “As a veteran, I’m excited to have the opportunity to help my fellow veterans of all eras receive the benefits they’ve earned. There are so many programs and services many people don’t know about… I’ll be able to make sure they are informed and able to access to those benefits.”
Ms. Offerman will be available for claims assistance and presentations to groups, as scheduling permits, on topics such as medical, compensation/ pension, education; programs to offset the cost of long-term care for veterans and/or spouses; and information and referral on VA and other associated resources. Appointment times for individual claims assistance can vary widely—while some claims are simple and straightforward, other more situations require extensive paperwork. Veterans Affairs staff will walk veterans through the process of scheduling appointments and what documents to bring with them.
Community organizations such as Centers for Active Adults, personal care and nursing homes, and Veterans Service Organizations can request presentations or benefits/claims assistance at their locations throughout Westmoreland County by calling 724-830-3530 or emailing [email protected] .