VA Benefits Seminar Draws Families to Gordon Jewish Community Center

A panel of experts helped demystify veterans’ benefits for approximately 50 veterans, family members and long-term care professionals at a free educational seminar at Gordon Jewish Community Center on May 25, 2016. 

Hosted by Jewish Family Service, Gordon Jewish Community Center and Elder Law Practice of Timothy L. Takacs, Making the Most of Veterans Benefits answered questions about how the VA system works, how to navigate the application process and how to access resources for caregivers. The seminar was open to veterans of all conflicts and all branches of service along with their families. 

Presenters included Samuel Riley with the Nashville Regional Office of the Department of Veterans Affairs who presented information about VA compensation and pension benefits; along with Kathy Massey, Debbie Cox and Tanya Faulk with the Tennessee Valley Health Care System who provided information about navigating VA healthcare benefits. The half-day program ended with a panel discussion. In addition to the presenters, the panel also included staff members from the Elder Law Practice of Tim Takacs, Linda Cross with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Tim Pearsall with Operation Stand Down Tennessee.

The Department of Veterans Affairs and VA Healthcare are two of the largest government programs in existence and navigating those programs can present challenges for veterans and their families. Presenter Samuel Riley encouraged veterans to go ahead and file a claim if they have any reason to believe they might qualify for service-connected or non-service connected benefits. “Laws are continually changing, especially for veterans who fit into the following groups: former prisoners of war, exposed to Agent Orange, exposed to Ionizing Radiation and those who served in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations during the Gulf War,” Riley said. Presenter Kathy Massey encouraged eligible veterans to enroll in the HealthCare system either online at or by mail. Downloaded forms can be completed and mailed to Health Eligibility Center, Enrollment Eligibility Division, 2957 Clairmont Rd., Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30329-1647), by phone 1-877-222-VETS (8387). Claims can also be filed in person at any VA health care facility. Veterans can also use online VA Health Benefits Explorer at to find answers to commonly-asked questions and to learn about the VA health care benefits to which he/she might be entitled.

Presenters also offered up a number of resources to participants including hard copies and an online version of a book detailing Veterans Benefits at and online resources about topics like ebenefits at

About: Jewish Family Service of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Inc. provides professional social services from Jewish perspectives which respond to and support individuals and families through life’s transitions. or 615-356-4234. Gordon Jewish Community Center provides programs and services based on Jewish values, giving members from all areas of Nashville and its surrounding communities a place to connect, exchange ideas, build community and grow together. 615-356-7170 or Elder Law Practice of Timothy L. Takacs, PLLC helps families respond to the legal, financial and personal challenges presented by long life, illness and disability. or 615-824-2571. 


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