Counties Being Asked To Do More For Veterans

County governments will be expected to play a greater role in providing assistance to military veterans during the coming years, as troops return home from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and as those serving in previous wars turn to their home counties for help. These topics were aired this week during the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania’s (CCAP) spring conference in Harrisburg. Among those attending were commissioners Joe DeMott (McKean), Paul Heimel (Potter) and Jim Thomas (Cameron).

Of particular note is a movement by the U.S. Congress to support specialized criminal justice services for military veterans, in conjunction with the growing number of drug/alcohol/mental health “specialty courts” being established. On a related note, operators of county jails are being encouraged to revise their prisoner intake process to determine whether an incoming prisoner is a veteran. If so, the inmate may have special needs and could be eligible for coverage of medical care and other services through the VA, saving money for the county.

Other notes of interest:

  • Several counties have shifted their Veterans Affairs Department into their Human Services Department to better leverage funding streams and share support staff.
  • Counties are being asked by the VA to establish effective county-specific websites with links to the wealth of services and information available through the internet.
  • Each county is being asked to compile as complete a list of Korean War veterans as possible, since some federal records were destroyed by fire and there are insufficient state backups.
  • CCAP is supporting a proposal (SB 165) to force PennDOT to add a veterans designation on drivers’ licenses, which would help vets qualify for retail discounts and other benefits, since it would verify veteran status.
  • Sophisticated scam operators are duping veterans into signing up with them to pursue benefits that are readily available with the use of a “middle man.” They’re also soliciting donations through collection kettles or by telemarketing and giving little, if any, of the proceeds to veterans.

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One Comment

  1. Heiditurk says:

    How about our local LEEK Preserve! Wish they would look into helping support us!!!!!

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