George Kauffman is the veterans service officer in Frederick for the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs.
...George E. Kauffman is the veterans services officer for the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs.He
has an office on the second floor of the state tax wing at the Frederick County Courthouse.
office just about any weekday, and it won't be long before a veteran comes in to inquire about benefits, services and entitlements.Veterans need to be prepared, whether they're about to leave the service or served decades ago.But they need to bring their DD-214.That's the post-World War II name for discharge papers.
"What George does is he cuts out the garbage," said Curtis Callender, one of the veterans Mr. Kauffman
has gotten to know in the past five years.
"There is no time limit on submitting your initial claim," Mr. Kauffman
counts himself among the people he
spent 30 years in the Navy on aircraft carriers.It's important to Mr. Kauffman
that the ships he
served on get mentioned.That sort of information is important to the military people he
served on the USS Bonhamme Richard, a CVA-31; the USS Oriskany, a CVA 34; the USS Shangri La, which he
proudly said is the only aircraft carrier paid for with private donations; the USS America, a CVA-66; the USS Nimitz, a CVN-68; and the USS Roosevelt.He retired in January 1992 after 30 years, and began working as a veterans services officer in 1995.He worked for the VFW before he went to work for the state office.He
knows from experience that veterans don't always trust the system, but they always trust another veteran.
Compensation and careMr. Kauffman
suggests injured or disabled vets have an advocate -- a spouse, parent or child -- to help them monitor their benefits.Once a veteran has a service-connected disability, he
is entitled to monthly payments of $112 for the least disabled to $2,393 for those considered 100 percent disabled.
Disabilities can be physical, mental or a little of both.Being a prisoner of war automatically qualifies a veteran for at least some disability benefits.
Veterans whose disabilities are considered 100 percent, or permanent and total, according to Mr. Kauffman
, get some privileges.
Col. Jeff Roller, who was getting ready to retire from a career as an Army surgeon, came to see Mr. Kauffman
at the urging of fellow veteran Mr. Callender.
"If you don't have someone like George
, well, he
goes over your medical history.
"Guys like George
are the eyes and ears for those of us who have been out of the military for a while."
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