Without Help, Navigating Benefits Can Be Overwhelming For Veterans

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By Steve Walsh

Along with seven public radio stations around the country is chronicling the lives of America’s troops where they live. We’re calling the project “Back at Base.” This story is Part 2 of a three-part series about veteran benefits.

The latest data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs show Indiana — which has the 35th highest number of veterans in the U.S. — receives $4,935 per veteran each year. If they received as much as Utah — which has the 35th highest return — Indiana vets would receive on average another $558. And if they received the national average of $6,088, that’s another $1,153.

Retired Brig. Gen. Jim Bauerele has spent years working to match veterans with their benefits.

“I think Indiana has neglected veterans,” he says. “I think veterans are uneducated as to what their benefits are, and there has been little effort undertaken to communicate and get that to veterans.”

Back in 2010, a VA survey found that nationwide fewer than half of veterans understood their benefits, whether it was medical care, college tuition or pension and disability payments.

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