John (not his real name) was a Gulf War veteran from the ‘90s and until recently an active member of IATSE. He dedicated his career to the entertainment industry—hard work, long hours. And in his mid-50s, by no fault of his own, John became permanently disabled and was forced to stop working. When his case was presented to an MPTF Social Worker not long ago, the intake form noted “Veteran,” which brought his case to the desk of Naomi Rodda, Director, Home & Community Based Services at MPTF. After digging into John’s case a bit, Naomi found something amiss. As she says, “We untie these knots.” And untie she did.
The discovery of an administrative error on the VA side became an appeal, which led to a 100% disabled rating, an award, and a door that opened to eligibility for a host of ancillary services. Industry member, husband, father, and military veteran, John will now receive the money he is entitled to. While every award is a beautiful achievement of connecting the dots between what was promised and what is delivered to our military veterans, this one posed exceptional significance for MPTF: it put Naomi’s Veterans Benefits Assistance program over the top in reaching its $1M mark in benefits secured on behalf of industry members. A fine marker. And a fine salute to all the veterans who work in our industry.