Sulphur’s Dave Sensat, junior past department commander for the Disabled American Veterans Louis L. Lust Chapter 17, spoke at the Sulphur Senior Center Thursday regarding local disability services for veterans.
Sensat said of vital importance for any veteran seeking services is the DD214, or discharge papers.
“That paper is important to your wife, or whomever is going to take care of funeral arrangements when you pass away,” he said. “That way, you’ll get the flag for your coffin. But, we’re not going to talk too much about that, because nobody in here is fixing to die.”
Sensat advised that anyone who hasn’t filed their DD214 at the courthouse, in downtown Lake Charles, should do so as soon as possible. He said that way, if the paper gets lost, the courthouse has a copy.
DAV service officers, volunteer veterans who are certified annually, assist veterans with service-related injury or illness in filing disability claims, requests for compensation increases, and benefits for their surviving spouses. “If somebody tells you they’ll file your claim for $20, tell them no,” said Sensat. “We do that for free. It’s all volunteer.”
DAV service officers are available to assist disabled veterans from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month and from 8 a.m. until noon on the third Thursday at the Lust Chapter, 5516 Hwy. 90 East, in Lake Charles. Officers are in Sulphur from 8 a.m. until noon every second Thursday of the month (with the exception of this coming January), at the old City Hall at 500 N. Huntington. Sensat said there is a female officer at both locations.
Disability claims filed locally are sent to the New Orleans DAV, where they are approved or denied, and compensation is set. Sensat said when claims are rejected, the officers at Chapter 17 resubmit them for reconsideration. “We’ll continue filing appeals, until you get it,” he added.
Sensat said those interested in advocating for veterans can visit the DAV website at DAV.org and click on the HELP DAV menu to select Commander’s Action Network. He said those who sign up will receive alerts about pending legislation and how it affects veteran issues. The emails will allow recipients to electronically sign petitions in support of the DAV’s position.
To contact the local DAV, call 337-497-0805.