Pella Chronicle

Local News

August 22, 2013

A vet helping vets


“Between the ages 22 – 28, I spent 37, 38 months overseas,” Dykstra said.

He was ready to finally stay at home, and the opportunity come open to work in Congressman Braley’s office. A veteran himself, the position working for Veteran’s Outreach was a perfect fit.

Since he’s started in this position in April, Dykstra has been helping veterans work through their claims, does case work, and tries to get the word out to the Veterans Affairs Administration and to veterans that Congressman Braley and his staff are there to help.

“One of my top priorities as a member of Congress has been to be an advocate for veterans, and to make sure they are getting all of the benefits they have earned through the service to our country,” Braley commented.

What Congressmen Braley’s office has found is that the average amount of days a veteran waits for their first claim to be completed is 316-327 days. During the wait, health care costs are not covered. As a result, 20,000 veterans have died while waiting for their disability claim to be processed.

“The struggles that veterans are facing to get the benefits they deserve are embarrassing. That’s why I’m working so hard to cut through the red tape nightmare at the VA,” Braley said. “The level of response we’ve seen from this effort exemplifies how many Iowans are affected. I continue to urge Iowa veterans struggling to navigate the VA claims backlog to reach out to my office. We’re happy to help.”

Earlier this year, Dykstra traveled throughout eastern Iowa and met with Iowa veterans who needed assistance with their disability claims that were backlogged in the system. Dykstra was pleased with the aid he was able to give, especially in Dubuque and Waterloo where he helped over 30 veterans.

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