Here at MPTF we’re focused on offering assistance in securing pension benefits for our industry’s military veterans, their surviving spouses, or industry members’ parents with military service with our Veterans Benefits Assistance program. Recently, we were glad to be there for Melissa Ritz, a Local 871 member currently working as a writer’s assistant on an upcoming military-related project for Sony-Netflix, and executive produced by MPTF supporter and World War II veteran Norman Lear.
Melissa entered the military right out of high school in 1995 and served in the Air Force for eight years, including stints as a medical lab technician, working at a U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, and even performing as a vocalist in morale-boosting shows for troops around the globe. Unfortunately, she also experienced issues with tinnitus and PTSD from her service, but the VA paperwork proved insurmountable when she went back to civilian life: “So much red tape, so many roadblocks, and so much misinformation it was discouraging.” Through the Local 871 newsletter, she found out about MPTF and reached out to MPTF’s Director of Home & Community-Based Services Naomi Rodda, who found significant paperwork that was overlooked. Naomi got the ball rolling over eight months for Melissa’s full benefits to take effect. “The final outcome was I got awarded a disability rating, which I’d never even heard of before,” Melissa explains. And for fellow vets, “Don’t be shy about setting up a consultation, even if it’s been a while since you separated. Especially if you’re a female veteran. Speak with a counselor and/or medical professional because you just don’t know what you don’t know. I wish I would’ve taken advantage of the MPTF’s veterans advocacy services earlier, but I’m grateful I was made aware of the MPTF program. I hope my experience helps other veterans take the initial step to see what benefits might be available to them as well.” Click here for more. >