(26) Our Counties and Cities Love America’s Veterans

Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly

A blog about a service dog and her veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the veteran and the family caregiver)

 Does your city or county do anything to help veterans?

This week I listened to a web conference by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Molly ran into our bedroom closet and snored through the entire program. While she preferred sleep, the conference piqued my interest and provided an abundance of data to help our veterans. I thought listing the useful information rather than engaging in a long narrative should keep Molly out of the closet and the reader interested.

  •  Cities and counties across America joined with the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers (NACVSO) to reach veterans, connecting them with services and resources for which they already qualify.
  • Millions of federal dollars are available for US veterans whose share of benefits remain unclaimed even though they already qualify for the funding; NACVSOs are responsible for finding veterans and matching them with the funds they have already earned from their previous military or current military service.
  • The federal government and local governments want our veterans to have this money and services. Not only is it important to support our veterans, this money gets reinvested by the veterans and their families back into the economy so it is good for everyone!

While not all states and counties have County Veterans Service Officers, NACVSO will help any veteran in any state or county connect with someone who can help identify his/her earned funds that remain uncollected. Because the need is different for each veteran, each veteran needs an advocate to help him/her navigate the system.

The NACVSO representative I spoke with recommended that a veteran start the process by Googling, “[insert your state name], Veterans Affairs.” Should you have difficulty with making contact through this approach, you can contact NACVSO at http://nacvso.org/or simply use this link. Click on the tab, “Find a Service Officer.” Next, click on your state. Either you will receive a specific contact with a phone number for your county or you will be asked to leave your contact information if you are in a county that does not have a county veterans’ service officer. NACVSO will follow-up with you.

The NACVSO representative who answered my questions for this blog, fought in Iraq. The head of the organization is a veteran, as are most of the representatives. They understand the hardships and needs of our veterans.

When my husband and I lived in California, a friend put him in contact with our county veteran service officer. The officer made contact with my husband the following day and prepared the paperwork to have his disability rating revisited. As a result, William received an increase in his rating. We also learned that our state paid full tuition at any California State University or any University of California for his dependents. My son went to school with this benefit. While not all states have the same benefits for veterans, it is worth a follow-up to learn about what benefits you and your family may receive because of your past or current military service.

NACVSO Mission Statement

NACVSO’s membership will actively promote the rights of veterans and dependents of the United States through a progressive legislative platform. We will work collaboratively with the Department of Veterans Affairs and other nationally chartered veterans organizations to assure that veterans and their dependents receive the entitlements they deserve for the sacrifices they endured.

These benefits are not welfare nor are they a handout. You served your country and you are entitled to these benefits. Remember, it is what you already have earned!

If you have difficulty finding your advocate, please complete the form below and I will do my best to help you.

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If you already receive benefits from the VA, what agency served as your advocate? Please comment below

About the blogger

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her husband, William, and dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.