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Hagerstown office open full time to assist veterans

November 27, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Veterans Benefits Specialist Jim Lichtinger is the manager at the Hagerstown Veterans Benefits Office.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs has restored its veterans benefits office in downtown Hagerstown to full-time status.

Veterans Benefits Specialist Jim Lichtinger said the office at 33 W. Washington St. is open Monday through Friday to help qualified veterans request benefits they might have earned while serving in the military. Previously, the office was open on Tuesdays.

“It’s always a matter of eligibility, but I need veterans to know it doesn’t hurt to try,” said Lichtinger, who manages the Hagerstown office.

He said the Veterans Service and Benefits Program helps veterans request a variety of benefits, including pensions, burial benefits, survivors’ benefits, education benefits and service-connected disability compensation.

Depending on the severity of a veteran’s disability, monthly compensation can range from $123 to $2,673 per month, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

George Kauffman, area supervisor for the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, said the Hagerstown office started offering full-time assistance in January 2009, but the hours were reduced shortly thereafter because one of the employees was transferred to a more-productive office in Cumberland.

During that time, the Hagerstown office was only open on Tuesdays, Kauffman said. It returned to full-time status in June.

Kauffman said the Hagerstown office could return to part-time status, or even close, if it doesn’t produce.

Lichtinger said business seems to be picking up. He said he helped 70 veterans apply for benefits last month.

Veterans should call ahead of time to ensure a benefits specialist will be in the office, Lichtinger said. On occasion, he has to leave to provide outreach services.

Hagerstown Veterans Benefits Office

Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Address: 33 W. Washington St., Room 201

Phone: 301-791-0356

For more information: To learn more about veterans benefits, visit www.mdva.state.md.us.

 

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