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Checks for Vets by Joseph Scott McCarthy
Posted By Jim On 10/25/2009 @ 8:51 am In Reviews | 3 Comments
Checks for Vets  is a guidebook that will help wartime service vets and their surviving spouses receive their VA pensions as a result of their service. If you’ve ever filled out a government form, then you know how complicated and vague that can be. How certain line items, despite “instructions,” can be difficult to understand and that every accidental error or inaccuracy results in a processing delay. Just think about your tax return!
When I was approached by Joe McCarthy’s publicist about the book, I knew I had to get a copy and review it. I’m always grateful for those who serve, have served, or work in support of our armed services. Knowing how complicated government forms can be, I knew a guide to the whole process, written by someone with intimate knowledge of the process, would be invaluable for those seeking to claim their benefits.
Who is Joseph Scott McCarthy? Joseph McCarthy has worked for more than eight years as a veterans advocate helping veterans get their VA pensions. He works with veteran service officers at the American Legion, county veteran service officers, and VA personnell to educate and guide thousands of vets and their surviving spouses through the VA pension process. Prior to that, he was a healthcare professional for twenty-nine years in Pennsylvania.
Despite the broad name, Checks for Vets primarily focuses on the Aid and Attendance and Housebound pensions program. That program is a non-service-connected pension, which are for veterans whose disability or death was not caused by or aggravated in the line of active military duty. The pension is available to wartime service vets, surviving spouses, and surviving dependent children who meet eligibility rules.
The books through the entire process of applying for and receiving the Aid and Attendance and Housebound pension. It begins with a look at VA Pensions and Benefits, from the past to the future. Then it covers eligibility in great detailed, how much you can expect to receive, how to file a claim and avoid delays, followed by locating one of the most important documents a VA needs for many of his or her benefits – the Discharge Record. Then it discusses the pension itself, other health benefits, and finishes with a series of Appendices of excellent resources one can turn to such as the location of American Legion and VA facilities.
One of the most valuable parts of the book are in the two dozen example forms. The book will include an official form along with detailed directions on what information is required in each box. It explains what parts of the form you can skip, based on previous answers, and what answers you have to fill out. It’s very detailed, much more so than the explanations in the form’s instructions. This is where McCarthy’s experience is most present.
If you’re a veteran looking for help on the Aid and Attendance and Housebound pensions program and can’t get assistance from Veterans Affairs, a local CFW or American Legion, this book looks like a good resource. I hesitate to recommend the book because I’m not a veteran and I’ve never applied for benefits (obviously). I do know that government forms are generally complicated and I’d take all the help I could get in order to avoid delay.
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