I first discovered OASIS Group through my work with the Green Beret Foundation. Granted, they do focus ONLY on former SOF personnel, however they provide a great template for what can be done with veteran organizations who specialize in helping out ‘niche’ markets. I’ve introduced them personally to a number of Green Berets who got help navigating the Veterans Administration disability system and claiming as much as they could for their specialized backgrounds that often involved destroying our bodies, hearing, limbs, etc.
I also developed a great relationships with John Armezzani, the CEO of the organization and he was kind enough to answer some questions.
For more information about the OASIS Group, please fill out a contact sheet for support!
1. How does OASIS make a difference?
OASIS makes a difference in two ways. First we ensure transitioning active duty members of US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) are fairly compensated by the VA. This reduces stress on an already stressful event, transitioning from a Special Operations unit. Due to our efforts these warriors usually end up with a compensation rating of 50% or more. This rating allows extra money when the veteran needs it most. It also results in an ACA approved healthcare plan at no cost for himself and education and employment benefits. The result is that these great Americans settle in their communities, start successful second careers in the private sector or the civil service, buy homes, send their kids to college and ultimately give back to their communities.
The second way OASIS Group makes a difference is to provide continuing assistance to USSOCOM vets throughout the course of their lifetime should their service connected conditions increase in severity or their spouses contract or incur a significant or catastrophic health condition. Through increased benefits we help the veterans family offset the significant impact on the family’s financial situation.
2. What do you feel is OASIS’ greatest achievement?
Consistently achieving our goals. We do this in three ways.
The goal of our transition assistance program is to attain a fair evaluation by the VA. We define this as a 50% rating by the VA. The USSOCOM members who attend our seminars get this evaluation 100% of the time. The average VA rating we get for our clients is 80%.
The goal of our post transition program is to be able to get an increase in the issue the vet wants addressed. We are able to accomplish this 99% of the time.
Our third goal is to provide the best use of our donors dollar. Currently over 90% of our donated funds go towards program costs. Also, our average cost per claim is $150. With an average VA rating of 80% from our transition assistance program resulting in a monthly monetary benefit of $1,775.48, our $150 expenditure equals a yearly tax free benefit of $21,305.76 for the veterans we serve.
3. What is your favorite story while working with OASIS?
We assisted a highly decorated Air Force Para Rescueman (PJ) that suffered a terrible accident. Both of his legs were burned off at the thighs and he had been in a nursing home. His wife had to take on two jobs to support the household. In 2009 he submitted a claim for VA benefits that was denied by the VA Regional Office. OASIS Group was contacted by some of the local EX-POWs that knew of his plight. We arranged for an additional medical opinion as new and material evidence and advised the wife on how to phrase the letter to reopen the claim.
Ultimately the previous decision was reversed and this PJ was awarded retroactive compensation of $181,000 and $7,000+ per month for the rest of his life. Additionally he received a $60K housing grant and an $11K automobile and adaptive equipment grant. This enabled him to move back into his home under the fulltime care of his wife. He also received his full Air Force retirement pay and his wife was entitled to education benefits.
4. What makes OASIS “tick”?
OASIS Group has at its core a group of dedicated former VA employees who volunteer their expert knowledge of VA rules and regulations to educate and advise our clients. These individuals were decision makers, adjudicators and education specialists with decades of experience in the VA system. We combine this expertise with former SOF Doctors and PAs who provide their expertise on SOF peculiar medical conditions. No other Veterans Service Organization offers this combination of legal and medical expertise to USSOCOM active duty and veteran personnel.
5. What are OASIS greatest strengths? Where can it grow?
OASIS Group’s greatest strength is it dedicated core of volunteers providing expert technical assistance and its ability to consistently deliver a high return for its donor’s contributions. OASIS Group intends to establish offices with full-time employees on both the east and west coasts in the next year to meet the increasing demand for our services and eventually establish offices near each military installation that a major USSOCOM unit is based. These offices will be tasked to provide support in five functional areas, VA claims assistance, Transition Assistance Seminars, access to and coordination with SOF specific benevolent and fraternal organizations, casualty assistance for widows and access to local community resources.
Stay tuned for more Vet Org Spotlights!