Compton: Veterans’ benefits bring about $67 million to Ventura County

By George Compton
Saturday, August 2, 2008

I would like to take advantage of my column today to provide my annual report on the activities to support veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the State Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Service Office.

During the past year, the Veterans Service Office (VSO) provided individual counseling and assistance to more than 2,800 veterans. The VSO staff gave more than 80 briefings to military, veteran and service organizations; filed 1,200 claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs or the California Department of Veterans Affairs; and generated about $4 million in new claims.

The annual total of benefits for compensation, education, pension, and insurance policies from the VA to veterans in Ventura County will be about $67 million, an increase of $3 million from last year.

The Greater Los Angeles VA Health Care System and Community Memorial Hospital continue to provide excellent care through our VA Medical Clinics.

We now have clinics in Oxnard, Ventura, Santa Paula and Camarillo. In addition, Oxnard has Adult Day Health Care provided by Oxnard Family Circle.

This all adds up to almost 7,000 veterans who are taking advantage of VA healthcare and the VA, which are providing $42 million in medical benefits, an increase of $8 million from last year.

The Department of Veterans Affairs also maintains a Vet Center in Ventura.

With 30 percent of service members returning from current conflicts experiencing stress-related problems, this facility is critical in providing support for our veterans.

A vocational rehabilitation counselor is also available in the county to assist disabled veterans in training for a career compatible with their disabilities.

The California Fee Waiver program continues to provide more than 500 college students from Ventura County with the ability to attend California colleges tuition free.

This program saves veterans’ families approximately $1.3 million per year. These numbers reflect the understanding of the importance of education by our veterans.

Finally, I would like to thank The Star for helping the Veterans Service Office to reach so many of the veterans of this county and provide information about possible assets available, and for being a sponsor of the annual Veterans Health and Resource Fair.

— George Compton, retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the County of Ventura, Human Services Agency. Send your questions to Veterans Service Office, 1701 Pacific Ave., Suite 110, Oxnard, CA 93033; phone number: 385-6366; fax: 385-6371; or e-mail: [email protected].

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