The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) was formed in 1920 and chartered by Congress in 1932. It is a nonprofit veterans service organization of more than one million veterans, disabled during time of war or armed conflict, that represents all of America's 2.1 million disabled veterans, their families and survivors.
The national organization funds and operates programs that service veterans throughout the United States and its territories and possessions. Fifty-two DAV state departments and nearly two thousand chapters augment the service programs of the national organization on a local level and, in addition, provide the essential framework for the fraternal activities of DAV's million-plus members.
The DAV's largest endeavor is its National Service Program. The DAV employs a corps of approximately 260 highly trained National Service Officers (NSOs) and 25 Transition Service Officers (TSOs) who directly represent veterans and their families with claims for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense, and other government agencies.
Veterans do not have to be DAV members to take advantage of this assistance, which is provided free of charge.
All of the DAV's NSOs and TSOs are service connected, wartime disabled veterans themselves, and most of their work involves securing disability benefits from the VA. NSOs function as attorneys-in-fact for the veterans and families they represent.
NSO training begins with a rigorous 16 month on-the-job training (OJT) program. The OJT program combines the expertise of seasoned DAV NSOs providing comprehensive, advanced training in laws, regulations, benefit programs and related subjects, with college courses in anatomy and physiology, speech communications and legal writing and reasoning.
The DAV's Transition Service Program is designed specifically for those enlisted soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and officers making the all-important transition back into civilian life.
It allows DAV representatives to conduct or participate in pre-discharge transition assistance briefings, review service medical records, and confer with Rating Specialists, physicians, and other participants in the discharge process. The program also allows DAV to assist service members in the development of evidence, completion of required applications, and prosecution of claims for benefits administered under federal, state and local laws.
DAV's NSOs and TSOs represent veterans and active-duty military personnel in discharge reviews, correction of military records, and physical evaluation boards at more than 75 military separation sites in the United States. To ensure that service personnel know about their potential eligibility for veterans' benefits, DAV also calls on patients at military hospitals.
DAV NSOs assist veterans and their families in filing claims for VA disability compensation, rehabilitation and education programs, pensions, death benefits, employment and training programs, and many other programs.
DAVs NSOs are highly trained professionals. Moreover, they are skilled experts in developing and prosecuting veterans' claims through in-depth reviews of medical histories in conjunction with sound application of current law and regulations.
In representing veterans and their families, NSOs assist in the thorough preparation of claims and written briefs, which includes helping to assemble evidence in support of those claims. They also review rating board decisions and inform veterans and their families of the appeals process and their appellate rights.
In the event of appellate review of a veteran's claim, the DAV is extremely well prepared to assist veterans and their families.
The DAV maintains the largest and most skilled staff of National Appeals Officers (NAOs) to represent veterans before the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) in Washington, D.C.
NAOs represent the largest percentage of claimants in cases decided by the BVA, which shows the confidence veterans and their families place in DAV representation.
The DAV also has an impressive presence before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, through which veterans have the right to independent judicial review of appeals denied by the BVA.
The DAV was the first to submit an appellate brief to the Court and the first to present oral argument by a non-attorney practitioner.
The DAV continues to be highly instrumental in addressing many issues before the Court, as well as to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The resulting decisions have changed, and continue to change, the way in which the VA carries out its mission.
The work of NSOs extends well beyond their offices and extends to deep within the veterans community.
Part of their outreach activities involves DAV's Veterans Information Seminars and its Mobile Service Office (MSO) Program. Both of these programs are designed to educate disabled veterans and their families on specific veterans' benefits and services.
These outreach programs generate considerable claims work on behalf of veterans and their families. The job of the NSO is to seek out veterans, to discover if they have a claim, and to follow that claim through to a successful conclusion.
Highly trained members of DAV's National Service Officer Corps conduct these workshops. These experts in veterans benefits offer both counseling and claim filing assistance for you and your family. This service is available to you free of charge and you do NOT need to be a DAV member to take advantage of this service.
The work of the DAV National Service Officers (NSOs) extends well beyond their offices and deep within the veterans community. The roll-out of DAV's Mobile Service Office (MSO) program in March 2001 is the most extensive outreach effort in the history of DAV.
These distinctive looking and well equipped "offices on wheels" will eliminate long trips some veterans in smaller towns and rural communities must take to visit our National Service Offices. This provides better service to more veterans and their families. NSOs, often aided by Department and Chapter Service Officers who are staffing the MSOs, stop in communities across the country to counsel and assist veterans in completing applications for benefits from the VA and other government agencies.
The DAV Homeless Veterans Initiative is designed to assist those veterans who find themselves living on the streets.
With the assistance of the DAV Charitable Service Trust and the DAV National Service Foundation's Colorado Trust, the DAV's Homeless Veterans Initiative enables its NSOs and network of volunteers to provide food and shelter, as well as medical, vision, and dental aid to homeless veterans.
Some DAV Departments and Chapters have also established shelters for these veterans.
Disabled American Veterans
3725 Alexandria Pike
Cold Spring, KY 41076
Phone: (859) 441-7300
Disabled American Veterans
National Service and Legislative Headquarters
807 Maine Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20024
Phone: (202) 554-35
DAV's online magazine is available in PDF format (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) at:
Veterans Service Organizations - Overview
Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits - Overview
Information for this topic was drawn from the DAV website at:
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