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In Helena, DAV offers a presentation on veterans’ benefits



Helena, Montana – Many people who have served in the military may not be aware of all the benefits they have accrued, according to veterans’ organizations. Friday’s gathering in Helena attempts to change that.

In order to ensure that veterans and their families have proper information on benefits, the Disabled American Veterans, or DAV, held an information seminar.

“These are benefits that the veterans have earned – and I go one step further because the spouses and their families have earned these benefits just as much because they were the ones who were left here at home while the veteran’s off serving,” said Joe Parsetich, a Great Falls resident who is wrapping up a year as DAV’s national commander.

From as far out as Great Falls and Anaconda, veterans attended the celebration on Friday. A resident of Butte named Donald Snowberger, a 20-year Navy veteran was among those present.

“I thought I’d just catch up on some news and see maybe if I’m missing any benefits,” he said. “I think all veterans should do that.”

DAV provided a brief introduction. Then, representatives from the VA, the state of Montana, and other veterans’ support groups were present to assist veterans one-on-one.

The PACT Act, a federal statute that was passed in August and improved access to compensation for veterans who suffered hazardous exposures while serving, has drawn a lot of attention.

A DAV national service officer named Charles Pugh informed the audience that 750,000 PACT Act claims had already been submitted, including around 3,200 in Montana. Around 1,600 of them have been decided, and according to Pugh, more than 80% of them were accepted.

DAV is urging veterans who could be qualified to submit their PACT Act claims by August 9 in order to be eligible for payments for the prior year.

“If they apply prior to Aug. 10 – an Aug. 9 cutoff – and they’re approved, they will get their payments all the way back to Aug. 10, 2022, so it’s very, very valuable,” said Parsetich. “The PACT Act was the largest piece of legislation in the last 30 years to benefit the veterans.”

Snowberger claimed that he had been particularly interested in learning more about the PACT Act. He declared that he will now research how to submit a claim by that time.

“I was in that area over there in the Gulf War, and they just encourage all the veterans in that area to sign up and register and see if you can get the benefits they owe you,” he said.

Veterans are invited to contact DAV if they missed Friday’s event but still have concerns. Pugh may be reached at (406) 495-2089.

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