January 11, 2014

Finding the Veterans Affairs Office in Your State

If you have served in the military, either on active duty or in the reserves or National Guard that were called into active duty, you should check with your Veterans Affairs office to determine if you are eligible for medical benefits. You do have to be honorably discharged and there are some active duty lengths of service to be met.

One of our group, Allen worked with me in pulling information together for this blog. We were able to find the websites for every state, but a couple was difficult to find. Most of the time by typing in the state followed by "department of veterans affairs" in a search engine, we were successful – example: iowa department of veterans affairs. For a couple of states we needed to use this site, which does list every state and territory. Find your state and by clicking on your state, or territory, it will take you to the website.

Each state seems to handle their website differently and to find a local Veterans Affairs office requires some work. We feel fortunate that our state – Iowa – makes it fairly easy to find the office of the county in which you reside. The county map can be found here.

The remainder of this blog is for veterans living in Iowa. There is not enough space in a blog to do all states or the interest for two Iowa natives. We have learned about the Veterans Affairs offices in Iowa and are comfortable with locating information for each of the 99 counties. The information for each county is different as you click on different counties and there is no consistency from one county to the next. Some also maintain county Facebook pages with minimal information on the county site. While checking out each of the 99 counties, we came across several county sites that were down.

We were able to contact one of the counties, they will be up by the middle of the month, and another county site was down for the holidays. One county even had information on their site that they were down until a new Veterans Affairs officer was hired and then the site would be back with the new information in place. This has to be expected with retirements and others being replaced when the local VA commissioners are not satisfied with the performance of a current VA officer.

If you are a reader of this blog and a former United States military veteran, Allen and I strongly urge you to become familiar with the county website where you reside. You should take time to become familiar with where the office is located in your county. Then take the time to stop by the office and check out what benefits you are eligible for and when.


Glenn Belson said...

Bob, I read your blog everyday. Thank you! I am a retired veteran. I served in Thailand vice Vietnam. I am type a type two diabetic. The VA stated that because I did not have boots on the ground in Vietnam that exposure to Agent Orange must be specifically proved by my assigned duty. Although Agent Orange was rumored to be applied in certain locations I cannot after theses many years prove specific exposures. My application was disapproved. If a member served in the Southeast Asia campaign there is not assurance of VA support and acknowledgement. It is an upstream battle.
I am retired Navy and have an alternate source of support. As a result of other issues I have been awarded a X% VA acknowledged disability. I have an established relationship with the VA MEDICAL SYSTEM but my USN retired medical benefits are primary. Medicare is supplemented therefore, my VA award provides only for a reduced taxable retirement setaside, else it is sounding brass.
I write this missive with some reservation but feel that many veterans in need should be fully informed of the opportunity but not expect a panacea.

Bob Fenton said...

Glenn - That is the reason for the last paragraph. I learned that two people in at the same time, but different service areas may not be receive the same benefits.