The New Year is a time for resolutions and fresh starts. The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs wants veterans to also review their benefits with a professional to ensure they are receiving the benefits they have earned through their service and sacrifice.

“All veterans should occasionally check with a veterans service officer to see if changes in a veteran’s circumstances or changes to benefit policies may have modified the programs a veteran may be eligible to receive,” said Brian Natali, chief, Division of Veterans Services and Programs. “Veterans should take these important steps to secure their benefits, and there are numerous accredited Veterans Service Officers and organizations eager to help.”

Natali said safeguarding military paperwork, especially the DD-214, which is used to verify military service, is an important first step.

The easiest way to manage military documents is to make sure they are filed in a safe place immediately upon leaving the military. Veterans can file their documents for free at their county courthouse of record to secure them until needed, which can be decades into the future. Anyone needing assistance locating military documentation can call 717-861-8910 or email RA-REQ@pa.gov.

Another key step, says Natali, is for veterans to apply for federal health care and state benefits by visiting their local county director of veterans affairs or area accredited service organizations to learn what benefits they may be eligible for and to get help applying for those benefits.

Natali recommends that veterans should sign up for the DMVA Veterans Registry, a free tool that electronically delivers information about the state benefits, programs and services available to veterans.

For more about the DMVA, including information on the six veterans homes, visit online at www.dmva.pa.gov or follow the DMVA at www.facebook.com/padmva or www.twitter.com/padmva.