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Playing the veteran card for money

By Rodney Cress
Veteran Advocate

Beware of some people soliciting monies for veterans during this holiday season. There are many admirable and necessary organizations raising money to help veterans and sadly these organizations are much needed because of government failure to provide all the needs of veterans that are disabled, homeless, suicidal, and in financial crisis. Caring for our veterans is an awesome task but one earned by those who wear the uniform now and in the past. Without these organizations veterans would suffer and families would have less, so by no means am I suggesting to stop giving. I am however suggesting you make sure the money you give is actually going to a legitimate agency. Recently it was brought to my attention of several people locally going to local clubs asking for money to help a veteran home within the county. When I checked on this home I discovered it was not a legitimate veteran homeless home because it was not zoned for it and was to close to other approved homes of the same type. It was even questioned that veterans were there at all. Some municipalities require one half mile apart of approved group homes, which was not the case here, nor was a permit applied for. This group gave lots of sad stories about the veterans living there but it was for their selfish greed and not for the veterans. Their actions are obtaining property for false pretenses and is illegal. Should you or your group be approched by these types of people, ask for documentation, permits, state or local license, contact numbers and check with the town manager of that municipality to confirm if they are authorized to be there. If you want to give to a national organization, there are several websites that list those agencies that have been approved and what percentage of donations actually go the the veterans. One such source that was in this month’s Army Times is WWW.BESTCFC.ORG for a list of approved agencies.

Also if you or your family is approached at the VA hospital by someone representing themselves as a representative that can help you get benefits, report them immediately to the nearest staff member. Solicitation is not allowed on VA property. One family recently paid $400 to have their claims filled out but the family never heard from them again. If you need help for this, visit the VA or a local or national veteran service officer where there is no charge.

Remember your donation is much appreciated and needed but it only helps if the veterans gets it. I encourage you to give as a way to thank those who so bravely have served and are serving now. Your small gift could be just enough to turn around a veteran and his family.

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