Navigating the Veteran Benefits Process with Cheryl Mason
On today's episode of the Lessons Learned for Vets Podcast, I am excited to welcome Cheryl Mason. Cheryl serves as the Chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, and as the chairman, Cheryl leads a team of approximately 1200 personnel, including veterans law judges, attorneys and operations and administrative professionals to meet the board's mission of conducting hearings and deciding appeals on benefits and services for veterans and their families. Cheryl is a military spouse of an Air Force officer and the daughter of a US Navy veteran. She is a key leader for military transition support for both active duty servicemembers, and their spouses and families. Her life has been impacted by suicide, and she advocates for changing the culture surrounding mental health and improving suicide prevention measures.
This episode is very valuable because not only does Cheryl talk to us about navigating the benefits process and how to continue to look at your veteran benefits as they change throughout the transition process, but she also brings an interesting perspective as a spouse, and as a daughter of a veteran who struggles with mental health issues. So make sure to tune in until the end!
[00:01 - 06:29] Opening Segment
- I welcome our guest, Cheryl
- Cheryl talks about the Board of Veterans Appeals
- Organization’s purpose
- Cheryl’s role as the chairman
[06:30 - 19:58] Advice in Navigating the Veteran Benefit Process
- The importance of knowing what you desire
- Knowing that transition is not a “one and done thing”
- Finding your tribe
- The benefits process is not a “one and done thing” as well
- Do not hesitate to comeback refile a claim if things get worse
- Key resources and tools for a smooth transition process
- VA transition website: https://benefits.va.gov/transition/index.asp
- Transition assistance program: https://benefits.va.gov/TRANSITION/tap.asp
- The VA: va.gov
- The National Resource Director : https://nrd.gov/
- Checkout the welcome kit at: https://www.va.gov/welcome-kit/
- Newly launched Veterans Sponsor Partnership Network (VSPN): https://www.va.gov/HEALTHPARTNERSHIPS/vspn.asp
[19:59 - 42:11] Experience as a Wife and Daughter of a Veteran
- Several programs for military spouse
- Having a strong network
- Remember that your spouse is transitioning too
- Being an advocate for mental health
- The way to address it is talk about it
- Ask the right questions
- Suicide crisis line number: 1-800-273-8255 OR Text 838255
- Reach out and ask for help
[42:12 - 39:12] Closing Segment
- Lessons from Cheryl’s experience
- Final words
Connect with Cheryl on LinkedIn!
SUBSCRIBE & LEAVE A FIVE-STAR REVIEW and share this to other veterans who might need help as they transition from the military!
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