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Coast Guard vet shares insight on VA programs

By Re-Essa Buckels, Public Affairs Specialist | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | November 9, 2018


A Coast Guard veteran encouraged several of his military peers to take advantage of many programs offered by Veterans Administration during the monthly veterans breakfast at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, November 7.

For Captain Frank Cole, it’s always been a personal mission to assist veterans and other transitioning military members and their families through the complex VA system. Cole has decades of Veterans Administration experience, he recently returned from a six-week, 5,500 mile, 11 military base mission trip; having assisted more than two dozen veterans in their pursuit of their earned veterans benefits.

Cole shared information on new programs like the MISSION Act and changes to caregiver services.

 “We touched on a number of topics such as the Mission Act in which the VA is trying to improve its facilities and its service in terms of rapid assessment of claims,” Cole remarked.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, The VA MISSION Act of 2018 consolidates VA’s community care programs into a new Veterans Community Care Program that will help to ensure Veterans choose VA by getting them the right care at the right time from the right provider.

“It’s reflective of a lot of changes that’s happening,” Cole explained. “Like the changes in the caregiver services so that people can stay in their home and get the kind of assistance they need for daily living without having to be institutionalized.”

Veteran Donald Dally, 89, has attended every MCLB Albany’s monthly veterans breakfast since its inception, not only to get information but to catchup with friends.

“It’s a well laid out program and I have a number of friends who rely on it,” Dally said. “It’s improved a great deal and I hope it improves more.”

Dally has private insurance instead of benefits with the VA.

However, Cole said veterans or transitioning military members who rely on the service should do the following:

  • Be your own advocate.

  • Choose a veterans services officer to represent you in any claims.

“They need to choose wisely, I call it due diligence,” Cole added. “Make sure that you get the right person, don’t get some dead end that’s just sitting there drawing money or who doesn’t have a track record of helping.”

Cole said veterans and transitioning military members can turn to veterans service magazines to look for quality veterans services officer that may best represent you.