OCEAN COUNTY – With the help of the Ocean County Veterans Service Bureau, three Berkeley Township veterans recently received a combined $500,000 in retroactive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
As a result of the hard work of the county’s Veterans Service Bureau, a federal judge ruled that these three veterans had not received their full share of benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Thanks to the hard work of Director John Dorrity and his staff, theses brave men who served their nation have finally received the benefits they deserve,” said Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Veterans Service Bureau.
It is part of the Veterans Service Bureau’s mission to represent local veterans. Dorrity was able to get these three Berkeley veterans reclassified as 100-percent disabled vets in order to ensure their earned compensation.
“Our office has been extremely successful in its hearings with the VA,” Little said, noting that the Veterans Service Bureau has recouped approximately $175 million a year in retroactive payments and benefits for local veterans.
“Just the reaction from these guys makes all of the effort worth it,” Dorrity said. “These are men who gave their all for their country. It really is a privilege to work for them and help them get the assistance they have earned.”
Dorrity has a lot on his plate, handling appeals hearings before a VA judge in just the last six months.
“These cases alone took years to settle. One went on for more than seven years and the other two lasted more than five years each,” he said.
While each hearing currently involves a 160-mile round trip to the federal building in Newark, though that might soon change.
“We’re having talks with the VA about having video conferencing where we can go before a judge on camera from the Brick clinic,” Dorrity said. “That would make a real difference to many of our older veterans who have trouble making such a long trip.”
The Veterans Service Bureau has two offices in Ocean County to accommodate veterans all over. The main office is located at 1027 Hooper Avenue in Toms River. A satellite office is open Monday through Friday at the Southern Service Center on Route 9 in Manahawkin.
Appointments can be made by calling Denise from Wednesday to Friday at 732-929-2096.
“Some of the services we offer, including assistance with V.A. claims, can take some time,” Dorrity said. “To avoid a wait, please call ahead first.”