The need to be informed about a multitude of veterans programs from local, state and national levels keeps all of us in the dissemination of information business constantly on the watch for new, expanded or discontinued programs.

Individuals who work on the levels noted do their best to keep us up-to-date, but at times we have to take the initiative to obtain the answers we want by contacting the seemingly endless number of agencies that work on our behalf.

With that in mind, here is a list of the information you can obtain by calling the following phone numbers for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

VA Benefits: 1-800-827-1000 --This number will assist you in getting information on Burial; Civilian Health Medical Programs of the VA; Death Pension; Dependency Indemnity Compensation; Direct Deposit; Directions to VA Benefits Regional Offices; Disability Compensation; Disability Pensions, Education; Home Loan Guaranty; Life Insurance; Medical Care; and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment.

Beneficiaries in Receipt of Pension Benefits: 1-877-294-6380

Education (GI Bill): 1-800-442-4551

Health Care Benefits: 1-877-222-8387

Income Verification and Means Testing: 1-800-929-8387

Life Insurance: 1-800-669-8477

Mammography Hotline: 1-888-492-7844

Special Issues -- Gulf War/Agent Orange/Project Shad/Mustard Agents and Lewisite/Ionizing Radiation: 1-800-749-8387

Status of Headstones and Markers: 1-800-697-6947

Telecommunications Device for the Deaf: 1-800-8294833

For health care services, in the Greater Cleveland area, contact the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center, 10701 East Boulevard. Phone: 216-791-3800

In addition, you can enlist the services of a Veterans Service Officer who works at the job of assisting veterans every day of the year. They are paid by their respective veterans organizations and are located in the A.J. Celebrezze Federal Building downtown at East 9th St. and Lakeside Avenue. There is no charge for enlisting the assistance of the service officer. And you need not be a member of the organization that provides the help.

Take advantage of these services. You earned it!

Many local, county and state governments have trained personnel in their veterans departments who can help. Check the government section of the telephone directory for these agencies in your area.

You may want to keep this column handy for future reference.

American Legion, 216-522-3504; AMVETS, 216-522-3500; Disabled American Veterans, 216-522-3507; Jewish War Veterans, 216-522-2446; Military Order of the Purple Heart, 216-522-7237; Vietnam Veterans of America, 216-522-3119; and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, 216-522-3510.

Second (Indianhead) Division: Are you or an acquaintance of yours a former member who may have served in the Army's 2nd Infantry Division at any time?

If so, you are asked to contact the Second (Indianhead) Division Association for information about the association and its annual reunion in Columbus, Ga., from Sept. 17 to 21. Contact Secretary-Treasurer Bob Haynes, at, call 913-224-225-1202 or log on to