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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More jobs coming to Montgomery, at the VA

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and its Montgomery VA regional benefits office have been authorized to hire 34 new employees to assist with processing veterans' claims for VA benefits.

The Montgomery VA regional office was authorized to hire 34 new employees to assist with processing Veterans’ claims for VA benefits. The new jobs came from federal dollars allocated under the Recovery Act, enacted by Congress in February 2009.

The new staffers will help handle the massive backlog of claims at the Montgomery regional office. Glen E. Struchtemeyer, director of the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, told veterans last month that Montgomery has one of the largest backlogs of claims nationwide. His staff has a backlog of compensation and pension exams that support the regional office and they've asked for help from other VA offices statewide to lighten the load.

“The jobs created under the Recovery Act are a real boost to Alabama's economy,” VA Regional Office Director Ricardo Randle said in a release. “These new employees are a great resource to our office, and the assistance they provide allows us to better serve Alabama's veterans and their dependents.”

The new hires are involved in administrative work supporting the professional adjudicators who make compensation, pension or education decisions, or process changes in veterans’ benefits. VA expects the additional staffing will help to deliver veterans their benefits as quickly as possible.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $150 million for the program to hire and train the new staffers. Nationally, VA has put 2,300 people to work in benefits offices including 500 new staff members hired as permanent employees.

While Recovery Act funding for the term employees will expire in September 2010, the 2011 president's budget includes funds to retain or replace these employees on a permanent basis and to hire more than 2,000 additional new processors.

In addition to bolstering the benefits office staffing, the law is funding more than $1 billion of improvements at VA medical centers and national cemeteries around the country.

More information about VA benefits is available at www.va.gov or veterans may contact one of VA's Call Center representatives at 1-800-827-1000.

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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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