Vets Need Better Service From Va

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Editor:

The Department of Veterans Affairs Phoenix Regional Office is located at 3333 N.entral Avenue in Phoenix and its "duty is to assist"n educating the veterans in theirequest forheenefits they've earned. The VAulfills three very distinct roles when dealing with veterans' claims for benefits. They first act as the claimants representative, by assisting in the development of said claim. Then the next role it fulfills is the part as the representative of the federal government in deciding your worthiness to demandor said benefit claimed. The third and final role the agency takes on is as the final arbiters of the claim making a legal court decision as to the outcome of approval or not for benefits applied.

I recently tried to contact the VA in the same manner as I have instructed others to do in the past, through the VA's-800-827-1000. The number still goes to the VA but now any operator from the West Coast area will answer, in this case it was Colorado on two separate occasions.

I asked to be transferred to the Phoenix VA Regional Office to make an appointment to review mine and another veteran's claims folder or "C-file." The VA Web site lists thebove number as the only number to the Phoenix office. The operator in Colorado told me that to make an appointment I shouldrive 98 miles and then drive back down for said appointment 3-4 days later and that the only other way to make an appointment would be by mail. This is absolutely ridiculous.

Why are disabled vets being forced to waste resources and income when a simple call, as in the past, would suffice? Why is theepartment of Veterans Affairs hiding from the citizens and soldiers it is supposed to serve? Why are they making it harder to apply for benefits in a time of war? These soldiers deserve better than this. I have an audio tape legally obtained from the VA that documents the conservation and the original complaint filed in response to it.

I would like to see some kind of follow up done and some heat applied to this failing mission to serve the nation's veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs. I have been a Veterans Rights Advocate assisting veterans with these issues for over 15 years. Never have I or any other of my associates been stonewalled for information so early in the process. It's a disappointing shame. How are they supposed to assist veterans if they won't even talk to them? Ridiculous.

"Smokey" Robert Smith

Vietnam Vets / Legacy Vets M/C

President

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