Veteran services

Island County Receives Veterans Services Officer Grant

Island County Receives Veterans Services Officer Grant

Island County was selected to receive a $110,000 state grant.

Island County has been selected to receive a $110.00 state grant to hire a Veterans Services Officer through June 2023.

Four counties in Washington — Island, Walla Walla, Clallam, and Stevens — are receiving this rural county veteran duty officer pilot grant. In total, there are 21 counties that have veterans service officers. Rural counties are defined as having a population of 100,000 or less.

Veterans Services Officers help veterans and their family members apply for federal VA benefits.

“A lot of it is disability benefits,” explained Steve Gill, administrator of veterans services at the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to a news release, Washington state veterans and their families receive more than $3.4 billion each year through disability award, pension, or pension. survivors. Monthly disability payments help veterans and their families meet basic needs such as housing, food and utilities. It also gives them access to employment and education benefits.

“It also increases their access and eligibility for VA health care benefits, which can save them a lot of money in health care costs,” Gill said.

The average disability payment is about $1,500 per month, according to Gill.

“Veterans Services Officers are really focused on helping veterans and their families in local communities to access these benefits and to improve quality of life and to improve their health care access and outcomes. related to health care,” he said.

This grant only provides salary and benefits for the Veterans Services Officer position for 11 months. It remains to be seen whether Island County will continue to have a Veterans Services Officer beyond June of next year.

“I can’t say whether or not the county would choose to expand the position beyond that,” Gill said. “It’s sort of up to the county.”

Gill also said there is a possibility that grant funding will be renewed for the next fiscal year.