Dorian J Carr joined the US Air Force in Oct 1987. He retired after nearly 21 honorable years of service in April 2008. He worked as an Aerospace Maintenance Technician on the C 141B Cargo Aircraft and in other capacities including Environmental Management Program Manager and Quality Assurance Evaluator, Third Party Oversight for Contracting, for Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California. Dorian was recommended as a US Air Force Recruiter for Enlisted and for Officer Accessions and was responsible for selecting qualified potential candidates for Pilot, Navigator and Air Battle Manager positions. In May of 2008, he was offered the position of Branch Manager with the Contra Costa County Veterans Service Office in Richmond, California. He currently works as a Veterans Service Representative with the City and County of San Francisco.
Passare Expert Series | Dorian Carr
Welcome to the latest Passare’s Expert Series installment, a forum for our experts to speak directly to you. Today we welcome Passare Expert Contributor Dorian Carr, a US Air Force Veteran with over 21 years of honorable service. Dorian is a San Francisco-based Veterans Service Representative, facilitating US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and services for US Servicemembers and Veterans.
Passare: Welcome Dorian. Please tell us how you became interested in US Military service.
Dorian: My father and several family members served in the US Military, so that was a big part of my upbringing. I took the required US Military service tests right after finishing high school. My scores qualified me for service in the US Air Force, which appealed to me.
Passare: Why did you pursue a career in VA benefits claims management?
Dorian: I learned about the US Veterans claims management opportunity while researching benefits for myself. The position was similar to my job as a US Air Force Recruiter, where I explained VA benefits to enlisting US Servicemembers. As a Claims/Benefits Manager, I help those transitioning out of the US Military obtain benefits they’ve earned. I also enjoy helping people.
Passare: What type of End of Life claims do you most often manage?
Dorian: I handle many direct-service connection claims for World War II, Korean and Vietnam Veterans. These are for active service-related illnesses or injuries. Part of my job is to determine their eligibility and help them obtain benefits and services for their specific needs.
Many US Veterans also need long-term care. Although there is no VA-administered long-term care program, each state has privately-owned facilities that the VA contracts with to provide US Veterans care. One example is the Veterans Home of California in Yountville.
I also facilitate many Widows Pension claims. These are awarded to a surviving spouse of a US Servicemember or Veteran who served during wartime.
Passare: Please describe a recent claim to help Passare customers understand your expertise.
Dorian: A spouse came to me recently seeking direct-service connection benefits for her US Veteran husband, who was in declining health at home. She was overwhelmed as his full-time caregiver. She needed respite care for herself and specialized care for her husband.
I helped her obtain higher-level direct service connection compensation to absorb her husband’s care costs. She received monetary benefits plus 100% coverage for her husband to receive care in an area VA hospital. This provided them both with much-needed relief.
As the Veteran neared End of Life, he was placed in a VA-contracted facility close to his family, where he passed away peacefully. Ultimately, he received the care that he was promised upon his enlistment. This is an important part of my job – helping fulfill the US Military’s promise to its Servicemembers and Veterans that they receive the healthcare and benefits they have earned.
Passare: What inspires you about helping US Veterans?
Dorian: Many Veterans are overwhelmed with End of Life illnesses and care. Having a knowledgeable US Veteran advise them and manage VA bureaucracy and paperwork is key to securing their benefits. Just knowing that I’m making a difference to US Servicemembers and Veterans who have honorably served our country is motivating and fulfilling.
Passare: Are there recent VA End of Life benefits changes that US Servicemembers and Veterans should know about?
Dorian: There are important changes in non-service connected pensions, called Aid and Attendance benefits. These are financial benefits to help manage a Veteran’s End of Life care costs.
- Physician’s Assistant (PA)-signed Documentation:
The VA previously accepted only physician-signed documentation confirming a Veteran’s illness or injury. Now, a PA-signed assessment suffices. This reduces the wait-time to see a physician, improves efficiency in managing claims and gets Veterans’ their benefits faster.
- Power of Attorney (POA):
The VA no longer recognizes POA documentation. If a Servicemember or Veteran is incapacitated, proof of legal conservatuership must be submitted with a benefit claim, and/or the Servicemember or Veteran’s thumbprint. This must be witnessed and notarized. The conservatuer serves as a Veteran’s Healthcare Proxy, and is the only person who can represent an incapacitated Veteran for VA claims.
- Assets Distribution:
The VA Pension program is a need-based benefit. A Veteran may have an $80K liquid assets maximum in order to receive VA pension. If assets exceed $80K and are gifted to anyone within three years of receiving benefits, that VA pension may be discontinued and assessed an overpayment notice. This is a benefits pitfall to avoid.
Passare: How is Passare a valuable resource for US Servicemembers and Veterans?
Dorian: US Veterans are often overwhelmed by their service-related issues and by the bureaucracy involved in applying for benefits. Passare is valuable to US Veterans by providing reliable, easy-to-understand information on inherently stressful topics. I can talk all day about technicalities and rules. This is not as important as how I can help people. That’s what Passare offers US Veterans – helpful, clear information from expert resources.
Passare: Thank you for being a Passare Contributing Partner Dorian. We appreciate your expertise and look forward to learning more about End of Life benefits for US Servicemembers and Veterans.