Helping Minnesota Veterans Navigate the System and Access Earned Benefits
With the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our military is downsizing – creating a whole new generation of veterans. What does this mean for Minnesota’s veterans’ resource offices? At a basic level: more veterans who need help accessing state and federal resources.
After leaving the service Minnesota veterans have access to a myriad of state and federal resources. Instead of requiring our veterans to call or visit a central office in Saint Paul or Washington, D.C., we have veterans’ resource offices in every county of the state.
These small offices provided big value to Minnesota’s veterans – connecting them with advice and assistance when filing claims for state and federal benefits like disability compensation, employment training, and medical treatment. Resource offices also assist veterans and their families with a variety of other programs and provide referrals to other community resources.
This year, Governor Mark Dayton and the DFL legislature provided new funding for Minnesota’s County Veteran Service Offices – ensuring Minnesota veterans receive help when applying for the benefits they have earned. The new resources will be used for veterans outreach efforts and to enhance current services.
These county offices do a great job of helping veterans access services at a low cost to our state. In 1992, then state auditor Dayton found, “The cost of providing services to Minnesota veterans through a network of County Veterans Service Officers is more than offset by the amount of federal veterans benefits brought into the state.”
In 2011, Minnesota’s County Veterans Service Office helped our veterans collect $2.1 billion in disability compensation and pension from the federal government. This year, Minnesota has allocated $2.2 million to the County Veteran Service Office program to ensure our veterans area are able to access all the resources they have earned.