The Fayette County Veterans Service Commission (FCVSC) office was closed for three days this week (Tuesday through Thursday) as construction is being completed to help better accommodate veterans coming to the office to discuss benefits and claims.
According to FCVSC Financial Benefits Counselor Tasha Jackson, she and another employee of the office — Claims Benefits Counselor Valorie Morton — recently became accredited through the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers to help with claims benefits. Due to this, the FCVSC discussed the construction to help with privacy for those who come into the office to check on their benefits.
“Say somebody is in the lobby area and are waiting on an appointment, anything that we say in the office can be heard by those sitting in the lobby area,” Jackson said. “So in order to eliminate anyone else hearing what is going on and helping to keep confidentiality, we are putting a wall up in the lobby area. It is almost similar to what you would see in a doctor’s office, it will have a sliding glass window. So if there is someone in the office we are working with as well as someone in the lobby, we can close the window and you will be unable to hear what is going on from the lobby.”
The Fayette County Veterans Service Officer/Director William Rheinscheld agreed with this sentiment and was excited to bring more privacy for the veterans who come seeking assistance and the benefits they earned while in service.
“I think it is amazing (to be completing the construction),” Rheinscheld said. “We got both of the gals certified now so they are doing a little more in-depth and personalized stuff out front, so we wanted to get them more privacy out there. We threw around a few ideas — and a couple we didn’t like — but we all ended up settling on what we are doing now. We wanted to give them privacy, but we didn’t want veterans in the waiting room to feel like they were pushed away or separated from us, so we decided on the big sliding window to keep it open, but also give veterans privacy. I think it is going to be amazing in the long run.”
Rheinscheld also took time to talk about the certification of both Morton and Jackson. He explained that this job is a dream position for him and he is glad both employees and the office as a whole can assist more veterans now.
“I think it is incredible, I have known Tasha for quite some time now, and Val I have known for maybe a year — I was a (Veterans Service) commissioner there for six or seven months,” Rheinscheld said. “I think having them both be able to do this stuff, our office is going to be moving in an amazing direction and at great speed. Our goal is our veterans. We strive for them. If any veterans out there need any type of assistance — rental, food, gas assistance — if you need claims done, come see me. If you just want to talk to me, come see me, if you do not want to come sit in my office in an official location I’ll come meet you out at the trail, I’ll come to the Walmart parking lot. I will do what I can to help my veterans. I finally found my dream job and I am going to do more than my best to make it great.”
Finally, Morton and Jackson both explained they were excited to be able to expand what they can do for the office. After being limited for several months due to the lack of a veterans service officer (VSO), they are looking forward to being able to handle more of what the veterans need.
“I am so happy now that I can do basically anything a VSO does,” Morton said. “It is a lot of stress off of everyone in the office and it gets paperwork moving so much quicker. I am able to sign-off on things where before I couldn’t. I always had to wait or call someone in to be able to look over it and sign. It is such a stress reliever and I feel like I can help more veterans, and I feel like I already have started the process of helping more veterans by being able to do the paper we can do now. I wish we could have been certified a long time ago, but I am glad to be able to get it done now. Now if anyone comes in — even if someone is out — anyone of us can handle that person.”
“Neither one of us were able to process claims,” Jackson said. “There was some paperwork that we could help fill out, but we could never sign off on anything because we were never accredited. After Amy (Jackson) left, we were in a bind for a little bit because we didn’t have anyone who could process claims. Val and I ended up taking the national training in March and passed. Since we are able to do that now, it helps Will’s caseload because we are all three able to process those claims. It is awesome, in my spot it is hard for me to advance anywhere because I am not a veteran, I cannot be the director or VSO, but now being accredited I feel more like an asset and that I can help more than I did before.”
The information in this article was provided by the Fayette County Veterans Service Commission.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 463-9684 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.