Compton: 2009 update on veterans services

By George Compton
Saturday, July 25, 2009

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

During the last year, the Veterans Service Office (VSO) provided individual counseling and assistance to more than 3,100 veterans. The VSO staff gave more than 80 briefings to military, veteran, and service organizations; filed 1,429 claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs or the California Department of Veterans Affairs; and generated about $4,800,000 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 $71.4 million, an increase of more than $4 million from last year.

The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System opened a modern primary care/mental health clinic in Oxnard. It is located at 2000 Outlet Center Drive, suite 225, and the phone number is 604-6960, ext. 6000 or 6001. In addition, Oxnard has Adult Day Health Care provided by Oxnard Family Circle. This all adds up to more than 7,000 local veterans taking advantage of VA healthcare and the VA providing $42 million in medical benefits.

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 534 college students from Ventura County with the ability to attend California colleges without having to pay tuition. This program saves veterans’ families approximately $1.4 million per year. These numbers reflect an understanding of the importance of education for our veterans.

Finally I would like to thank the Ventura County Star for helping the Veterans Service Office to reach so many of the veterans of this county and provide information about possible assets available.

— George Compton, a retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the county Human Services Agency.

Send questions to Veterans Service Office, 1701 Pacific Ave., Suite 110, Oxnard, CA 93033, phone 385-6366, fax 385-6371, or e-mail [email protected].

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