During the Marshall County Commissioners’ meeting on Monday, Pam Schweizer-Betz, the Veterans Service Officer was scheduled to present her quarterly report. She told the commissioners she didn’t have the statistics to share that morning because she’s been busy “front-loading” veterans who are homeless, battling cancer, and don’t have heat. She told them she would share the number with them later in the day.
The Veterans Service Officer said she has been crazy busy in the office and that she has been turning away veterans from Michigan. She said Fort Wayne is sending veterans to her for assistance with their claims.
The DAV at the Council of Aging in Plymouth has John Rodriguez from East Chicago to assist with veterans’ claims. He signs up the veteran with the DAV and completes a third-party release for them and then sends the veterans to Pam to complete the claims. She said she’s turned away some of those veterans and instructed them to go back to Mr. Rodriquez because he is the VSO, that way they aren’t duplicating the work. The DAV has trained three additional members to assist VSO Rodriquez with disability claims.
While the Mishawaka VA is sending anybody and everybody to the Marshall County Veteran Service Officer for help, she is prioritizing Marshall County Veterans in her office. Pam reported that there are several VSO’s retiring in the area or they don’t have a reputation for handling cases with the VA which has resulted in her continued increased workload.
Commissioner President Stan Klotz reminded the county’s Veterans Service Officer that they are very supportive of her efforts and if she needs help to ask. They will discuss the possibility of an assistant during the department head evaluations later this month.