Updated: Jan 31, 2021
American Legion Department Service Officers (DSOs) secured nearly $3.7 billion in benefits for the nation’s veterans during fiscal year 2020.
The claim payments amassed for veterans by The American Legion come in the form of dependency and indemnity compensation, death compensation and veteran pensions.
Nearly 7,400 new awards were issued during 2020, bringing the total number of claims being paid monthly to more than 880,000. Payments from these claims average nearly $1,400 monthly for these veterans and surviving family members.
The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the way DSOs approach working with veterans on their claims. With safety measures in place, the service officers are continuing to push forward in providing assistance to those in need.
“A lot of what we do is planning with veterans and how to approach their claims,” said Lucas Bruner, the assistant DSO for Washington state in an October interview.
“The difficult part,” he added, “comes from the fact that our jobs are very hands-on and COVID has taken that approach to real-life situations and made it more complicated.”
DSOs are trained by The American Legion to provide professional accredited American Legion representatives at the regional office, county and state levels with specialized training on issues affecting veterans and their families nationwide. These service officers are specially trained to provide expert VA claims and benefits assistance, free of charge, to any veterans and their families.