Recent estimates from the State of Iowa indicate that there are around 3,000 veterans in Jasper County. However, the Veterans Affairs office estimates that only around 800 or so veterans are taking advantage of the services that they offer. Officials in the office believe that many vets just don’t know about the plethora of services that are available.
So what exactly is the Veterans Affairs office? According to county’s website:
“The Jasper County office of Veteran’s Affairs ensures the availability of financial and related program services to qualified veterans or their families who receive benefits under the provisions of Chapter 35B of the Iowa Code.”
One of the first things the office can do is connect vets to the state and federal veteran’s affairs offices to take advantage of the benefits offered to them from those offices. At the federal level depending on which qualifiers they meet, vets can:
• Receive disability compensation and/or a disability pension.
• Receive medical care at a VA hospital.
• Can receive up to 36 months of education through one of the numerous GI Bill or Reserve Educational Assistance Program.
• Provide educational training, aid in job searches, vocational training and rehabilitation training.
• Provides several life insurance plan options.
• Provide unemployment compensation and can aid in gaining reemployment at a job you held before your time in the service.
The office is more than willing to help with all of the necessary paperwork that is needed to take advantage of these benefits. The State of Iowa also offers up special benefits for its veterans.
• For vets who did not finish high school, they can get a honorary high school diploma through the Operation Recognition High School program.
• Vets and their families can be buried at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery 10 miles west of Des Moines. Honorably discharged vets are buried for free; family members can be buried for $300.
• The Iowa Veterans Trust Fund is a used for unemployment or underemployment assistance due to service-related causes, assistance with vision, hearing, dental care, durable medical equipment, and prescription drugs; counseling and substance abuse services; housing repair; and transitional housing in an emergency.
• Vets that were disabled in the service can receive lifetime fishing and hunting licenses in Iowa.
• Honorably discharged vets for an additional fee can purchase specialty veteran license plates and when renewing their drivers license can get vet designation placed upon it as well.
• If a vet meets certain qualifications they may receive up to $1,850 off of their home value when paying property taxes.
• Post 9/11 vets can receive a $5,000 homeownership assistance grant if their buying a home in Iowa, and even retroactively dates back to vets who bought homes as of March 10, 2005.
While there are overwhelming amounts of benefits both on the state and federal level, the office is more than willing to help a vet sort through off of the information to see what benefits they can qualify for.
Some of the everyday things that the Jasper County office offer can do according to the county’s site:
“The office provides counsel and assistance in matters pertaining to filing claims, forms, Eligibility Verification Report and related documents and obtains signatures for pensions/compensation and aid; inpatient/outpatient hospitalization care, rehabilitation, income and net worth, and budget preparation; makes out calls to veterans with disabilities; acts as payee/fiduciary for clients unable to manage financial affairs; coordinates transportation needs of veterans to treatment and care facilities.”
The Jasper County office can immediately provide emergency and prolonged relief in the form of food, shelter, cash and utility assistance, clothing, toiletries and help on catastrophic medical bills after accessing a vet’s current financial situation.
So whether you are vet in need of serious help or just curious to see what aid is out there, call the office at (641)-792-7993 or stop in at the office located on the first floor of the county annex building at 115 N. Second Ave E. The office has made it clear that they are there to help all vets no matter how big or small an issues is.
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641)-792-3121, Ext. 426, or email@example.com