Magazine article VFW Magazine

Pennsylvania Service Officer Focuses on Overseas Veterans

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Pennsylvania Service Officer Focuses on Overseas Veterans

Article excerpt

Elizabeth Salvador, a service officer at the VA Pittsburgh Regional Office, recently helped a veteran living in Africa end an 11-year-long appeals process.

Salvador works on foreign claims from veterans who live outside of the United States. She said that in this particular case, the veteran initially was given a zero percent rating because he was unable to have an exam to determine the "current level of severity" for his conditions.

"He's in a really, really rural area," said Salvador, a member of VFW Post 914 in West Mifflin, Pa. "He has to travel about two hours just to get to a phone."

The veteran, according to Salvador, received roughly $70,000 for "quite a few conditions" in mid-January.

She added that part of the length of the appeals process was because he lives overseas.

Salvador has been a service officer in Pittsburgh for nearly five years. She took on the role after being laid off from a previous job.

"I needed health care because my insurance wasn't covered anymore," Salvador said. "And I just wasn't sure [of] the ins and outs."

She went to her local Post, of which she now is a member, and ultimately learned of the opening at the regional VA office.

She said the most challenging aspect of her work is the foreign cases, along with time zone differences.

"A lot of times there's language barriers," Salvador said. "Even sometimes the veterans themselves - we have a lot of veterans in Panama and a lot of them don't speak English."

The most common case she works on is related to mental health. …

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