Beginning this weekend, the office of Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) will be conducting bimonthly veterans registration drives to assist eligible veterans in enrolling for VA health care and other benefits.
“Our goal is to provide an accessible means for veterans to connect with the services they are eligible for,” Sablan said. “We have many veterans who have served our country bravely and with distinction. They may not know what benefits exist for them. These are benefits they have earned.”
The veterans registration drive launches this Saturday, and will be held twice a month through December 2018, on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm in front of Joeten Superstore in Oleai. The specific dates are as follows: Aug. 11 and 18; Sept. 15 and 22; Oct. 13 and 20; Nov. 3 and 17; and Dec. 15 and 22
In addition to assisting veterans interested in enrolling in VA health services, the congressional office’s Wounded Warrior Fellow, Randy Johnson, will be available to answer questions about obtaining military or VA records, resolving inquiries about VA benefits claims, recovering service medals, and participating in the Veterans History Project.
Additionally, staff from the CNMI Military and Veterans Affairs Office will be present to share information about their services, and to assist veterans in signing up for the CNMI veterans registry.
According to the CNMI Military and Veterans Affairs Office, more than 1,700 Marianas veterans are listed on the local registry; however, only about 350 veterans are actually signed up for VA health care. Even fewer are signed up for VA benefits, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Through our outreach efforts, we hope to increase VA enrollment and make sure that more veterans are able to get the care and benefits they deserve,” Sablan said. “We also hope that friends and family members will be able to obtain more information to encourage the veterans in their lives to sign up for services.”
Sablan has been a strong and consistent advocate for improved access to care and benefits for veterans in the Marianas. Through his efforts, over the past year alone the number of community providers enrolled in the Veterans Choice program has tripled, the Guam Vet Center has re-established outreach and clinical services, and outreach visits by VA benefits counselors have increased.
Sablan’s ultimate goals are to establish a full-time VA clinic and a full-time Vet Center in the Marianas. The VA is now preparing to conduct a clinic feasibility study, the first step toward establishing a clinic. The study is mandated by legislative language Salan included in the VA Mission Act, which President Trump signed into law last June. Sablan is also working with the Guam Vet Center on a needs assessment that will be instrumental in standing up a Vet Center in the Marianas.
The congressman has also hosted annual veterans resource fairs on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, published a Veterans Resource Directory and a Report to Veterans, and added the oral histories of more than a dozen Marianas veterans to the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project. This veterans registration drive is the latest in Sablan’s veterans outreach program.
For more information about the congressional office’s outreach initiatives and services for veterans, call (670) 323-2647, visit https://sablan.house.gov or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (PR)