Home News Local news Discharge Paper Errors Could Keep Benefits from Veterans

Discharge Paper Errors Could Keep Benefits from Veterans

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April 1, 2008 — Concerned about the territory's veterans being denied access to their benefits, the Veterans Affairs Office has issued an alert to veterans to verify their discharge documents.
Nationwide, and regardless of service, reports of veterans with difficulty accessing their benefits are on the increase. Veteran support websites and groups, both government-sponsored and privately run, post a litany of stories of service members who came home to find that errors on their DD214 discharge documents are preventing access to healthcare, mortgage and educational assistance, and other benefits.
In February, military.com reprinted an article from the Buffalo News which reported that the Army alone has a backlog of 1,890 veterans seeking corrections on their discharge papers and — according to the U.S. Department of Defense — some have been waiting for up to three years.
Many veterans who have never filed for benefits may be in for an unpleasant surprise if they have errors on their military service Report of Separation, known familiarly by its government form number, DD214.
There is a real need for veterans "to look over their DD214 to make sure it is correct," said Harry Daniel, assistant director of the V.I. Office of Veteran Affairs.
His office issued the alert after websites like military.com and reports from the Pentagon showed a growing problem with DD214 error-related problems.
Omissions as small as leaving off a medal or as large as an indication of honorable discharge could impact those seeking the benefits they earned serving their country, Daniel explained. When veterans look at their papers they should make sure that their rank and structure are all updated, he said.
It is the VA's duty to look out for all veterans, Daniel said, whether it is the federal agency or the one here in the territory, where the office is an arm of the Governor's office.
"It's our job to let veterans know" that they should check their papers, he said.
Other military support groups, such as the Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion, have also worked to get the word out, Daniel said.
The local offices have been assisting veterans in trying to clear up errors and omissions on their records and urge veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom to pay attention to their period-of-service dates.
Veterans seeking more information should contact the Veterans Affairs Office at (340) 774-6100.
Additional resources are available online here and here.
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