The information below is from the NVS Policy and Procedures:The primary task of a Post Service Officer (PSO) or District Service Officer is to provide information concerning Federal, state and local benefits for veterans, their families and survivors. In this capacity, Post/District Service Officers may provide applications or other forms to claimants; when requested, may help a claimant complete a form by acting as a recorder. The Post/District Service Officer:
A. Must have access to a current edition of the VFW Guide for Post Service Officers and shall perform duties in accordance with instructions contained therein.
B. Be under the general supervision of the DSO and shall comply with the direction of the DSO to include participating in scheduled Post/District Service Officer training facilitated by the DSO.
C. Will not establish or solicit to establish office hours at VA facilities (not limited, but to include, Regional Benefits Offices, hospitals, Community Based Outpatient Clinics, & Vet Centers).
D. Must not make direct contact concerning a claim or other matter, with the Department of Veterans Affairs or with any other governmental department or agency without a VA Form 21-0845 Third Party Consent from the claimant to do so. All status updates and other inquiries must be routed through the DSO. Should a Post/District Service Officer inquire on the status of a claim or other benefits on behalf of a claimant, the DSO must only provide their response to the inquiring claimant, as disclosing information about specific claims is a violation of the law.
E. When acting as a recorder, the Post/District Service Officer is simply transcribing information provided by the claimant. At no time should the Post/District Service Officer make suggestions on how to frame information to make it appear more favorable or less harmful to the claimant. Under no circumstances will the Post/District Service Officer take possession of any form, record, or evidence furnished by a claimant for the purposes of filing a benefits claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Under no circumstances will the Post/District Service Officer retain any personally identifiable information (PII) concerning the claimant or the claimants’ family. Any forms, records, or evidence furnished by the claimant must be immediately returned to the claimant with instructions on how to submit their benefits claim with the DSO or to the appropriate federal authority.
F. Under no circumstances should a Post/District Service Officer counsel a claimant on their individual claim. While a Post/District Service Officer provides information concerning various government benefit programs, he/she should not offer any guidance or opinion as to the individual claim itself. General statements about the types of 16
evidence necessary to support a claim can be described; however, a Post/District Service Officer must never discuss the nature or merits of any particular claim.
G. The Order of Business for VFW Posts prescribed in the VFW Ritual requires that the PSO submit a report at each Post business meeting. The report should summarize the activities of the PSO since the last report but should never include any personally identifiable information concerning any veteran, family member of a veteran, a survivor nor any other person living or dead.
I. The VFW Manual of Procedure requires that District Service Officers assist their Post Service Officers. This includes ensuring Post Service Officers located within their District attend District and/or Department Service Officer training.