PARIS — The American Legion Post 72 an VFW Post 9787 of South Paris are presenting an informational outreach event at American Legion Post between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on May 20.

American Legion Post #72 Commander Sarah Glynn, left, and Teresa Drag, commander of the Floyd A. Harlow Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9787 have organized a veterans informational outreach day at the American Legion Post Foster-Carroll-Post #72 in South Paris on May 20 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. File photo

#72, located at 12 Church Street in South Paris. The focus of the info. fair is raise awareness of benefits and programs available to Maine veterans. Post Commander Sarah Glynn says she and VFW Commander Teresa Drag have been planning to do this for the past couple years but had been interrupted by the pandemic.

According Christopher Smith of the VA Togus Regional Office, 30,000 Maine veterans currently receive benefits provided by the VA. Glynn wants to increase that number.

“I went to a Travis Mills outreach recently,” Glynn said. “It was fabulous. So many veterans don’t know about the benefits they are entitled to. A lot of people think to themselves that they are not so bad off as others. They let others utilize the services, but all veterans need and deserve them.”

Other veterans groups are expected to participate, include Honor Flight Maine, the Veterans Administration, Martin’s Point TRICARE and a Bangor business that converts Conex boxes into housing.

Glynn told the Advertiser Democrat that Smith had confirmed a VA representative will be available during the Legion hall to provide information on and process forms for veterans benefits including service-related compensation, PACT Act related benefits, VA life insurance, veterans readiness and employment support, and survivor benefits.


Federal legislation over the past several years has significantly expanded eligibility for benefits for many service veterans. Additional medical conditions have been added to the “presumptive” list for Agent Orange exposure.

Defined exposure has been expanded from “in country” Vietnam, include a 12-nautical mile perimeter of Vietnam, referred to as the Blue Water Navy Law. This is an acknowledgement that the herbicide also affected veterans who served on vessels operating not more than 12 nautical miles seaward from the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia as defined in Public Law 116-23. Veterans who state they meet the criteria of this law are eligible for the Agent Orange Registry.

The PACT Act of 2022 is intended to significantly improve healthcare access and funding for veterans who were subjected to toxic substances during their military service. In addition to Agent Orange it includes exposure to radiation and or burn pits while serving. The act allows for veterans suffering from any of the presumptive conditions to be assumed their condition is related to military service.

“Eligible Veterans and survivors are encouraged to file their claims now,” said Glynn.

The process calls for veterans to establish individual accounts through so they can apply for benefits directly. Veterans will need to upload a copy of their military service discharge (DD214) to verify their status.

“DD214 provides the VA information such as the period of service, location of service, and characterization of discharge,” Glynn explained. “This information will provide the VA with the basic information to determine eligibility for different types of benefits.”


To qualify for disability benefits, a veteran must show a current medical diagnosis, its connection to active duty military service (nexus), and medical evidence of recurring or persistent symptoms.

Once an application is received, the VA will schedule the applicant for a Compensation and Pension (C&P) Examination. Once that evaluation is complete, and all available medical documentation has been received and reviewed, the VA will make a decision on what rating, if any, is warranted for benefits.

Veteran in need of assistance with their application should contact the VA. Veteran service officers are available through a variety of service organizations, such as DAV, VFW, Amvets, and American Legion. A number of these national organizations have offices right on the VA Togus campus in Augusta.

Veterans can also utilize the services of accredited attorneys and agents, who can be found in the accreditation of

Glynn, who operates Oxford Hills Law in South Paris, is an accredited attorney who provides veteran assistance.

“The important first step is to register within the system,” Glynn stresses. “Once they register, veterans are enrolled in a priority group depending on their status. Many veterans don’t realize that all veterans are eligible to receive free hearing aids and eyeglasses through the VA. And family members of veterans are eligible for a number of benefits.

“Often veterans don’t know when benefits are expanded, or that they exist at all. Please come to this outreach – and bring your DD214!”

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