By Raymond Taylor
Archuleta County Veterans Service Office
Due to supply chain and staffing shortages, the vendor contracted by the Government Publishing Office (GPO) to provide printing services for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is experiencing delays in printing and mailing notification letters to veterans and claimants. The disruption may impact the ability of some claimants to meet required deadlines via written correspondence with the VA.
In response to the mailing delays and to protect the best interest of claimants, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is extending its response period by 90 calendar days for claimants with letters dated between July 13, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021.
If a claimant does not reply to a time-limited notification, such as making an election of benefits or services, or reporting for a scheduled compensation and pension examination, the VBA will not take adverse action to deny, reduce or terminate benefits and services unless: 1) the claimant is contacted and there is documentation of their right to respond; 2) the requested information has been received; or 3) the response period has lapsed.
The VA and GPO are proactively working to quickly address the mailing delays. For questions on this matter, veterans and claimants can contact the VA at (800) 827-1000.
Veterans who filed an appeal with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals can go online for information specific to board correspondence, scheduled hearings at the board and receiving your board decision.
Happy new year to all. Stay safe this holiday season. Yeah for all the snow!
Don’t forget the new dialing procedures: Effective Oct. 24, to complete all local calls, you will need to dial area code and telephone number. This means 10 digits for local call. This is required due to the new “988” code for National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline.
Grant allows Vets4Vets to help local veterans
Vets4Vets of Archuleta County has received a grant from the Colorado Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. This financial grant is to support veterans in our community through the following assistance: housing, utilities, mental health counseling, dental services, travel assistance, automobile repairs, gas and food cards, and emergency veteran assistance.
Contact Vets4Vets at https://vets4vetspsco.org/ or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Veterans: Thank you for your service. Welcome home.
For further information on VA benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office (VSO), located at the Pagosa Springs Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.
The office: (970) 264-4013, fax number: (970) 264-4014, and email is email@example.com. Bring your DD Form 214 (discharge) for applications to VA programs or benefits for which the veteran may be entitled to enroll, and for filing in the Archuleta County VSO. Always leave a message and phone number to contact you.
The following veterans groups meet in Pagosa Springs:
• American Legion Post 108: second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.
• Veterans for Veterans: every Tuesday at 10 a.m., Tennyson Building Event Center, 197 Navajo Trail Drive, on all but the first Tuesday. Breakfast meeting on the first Tuesday of the month at 9 a.m. Contact (970) 799-8387 for more details.
• Combat Veterans PTSD Group: every other Tuesday at noon, Community United Methodist Church, Lewis Street. Contact Gary Hanneman at (970) 946-2540.
• Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans: first and third Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m., Dr. Carter’s office; contact Charlotte at (970) 903-9690.
• Vets4Vets: (970) 880-VETS, www.Vets4VetsPSCO.org.
• Durango VA Outpatient Clinic: (970) 247-2214.
• Farmington VA Center: (505) 326-4383.
• VAMC Albuquerque, N.M.: (800) 465-8262.
• VA Health Care Emergency Notification: (844) 724-7842.
The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support to veterans in crisis, as well as their family and friends 24/7/365. Call (800) 273-8255, chat online or text 838255.