Veterans workshop helps solve benefit problems

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Jason Coppola, veterans service officer from the State Office of Advocacy and Assistance, addressed a room full of veterans on Thursday, Sept. 12, breaking down how to access their service-sworn benefits for defending the nation in times of war and crisis.

Plainville Senior Center director Shawn Cohen said the center worked for many years to have “a good social services delivery with veterans services” but found that it was difficult to find information and to ensure that the information was understandable and easy to follow.

That was, it was difficult until they forged a partnership with Coppola.

“From that point on we have been able to offer you an opportunity to meet with Jason, and have him work individually with you to get what you need,” said Cohen. “It’s really been phenomenal—the people that he’s helped.”

Coppola, and coworker Peter DiMaria, said their office can aid veterans and their families in understanding how to navigate the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“We love to come out and meet with veterans and their families and talk about benefits because we all know that when veterans, their widows or whoever is trying to get VA benefits, it can be a very daunting task,” said Coppola.

One of the many tasks handled by their office is enrolling people in VA healthcare. They also offer assistance in enrolling in service connected disability benefits, veteran wartime pensions, and how to fill out the paperwork involved in gaining access to these benefits.

Coppola meets with veterans on an individual basis each month at the senior center, to aid with veterans’ assistance, completing forms, applying for programs, eligibility, and many other topics. To schedule a meeting with him, please contact Coppola by calling, (203) 805-6340.

The Plainville Senior Center, 200 East St., offers veteran coffee hour events, open to all veterans and spouses over the age of 60, hosted by Wayne Rioux, a veterans’ liaison for Hartford HealthCare at Home. Discussions touch on topics like benefits, entitlements, and services; aid and attendance; service-connected disabilities; presumptive diseases; military burial and military honors, amongst others.

Attendees are asked to sign up by calling the senior center, (860) 747-5728.

Veteran coffee hours are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 10:30a.m. The remaining meetings of 2019 are Nov. 5, and Dec. 3.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@PlainvilleObserver.com