Each county in Ohio has a Veterans Service Commission (VSC) to assist veterans and their families. Totally separate from the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), Veterans Service Commissioners have two basic functions: to provide assistance in making claims for benefits with the VA and other government agencies and to provide short term financial assistance to veterans and their families in times of need.
The VA provides many benefits to qualifying veterans, their spouses, widows and children, but the application process is complicated and requires extensive documentation. VSC officers and staff are fully trained and accredited by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to assist applicants in completing the forms and in gathering the appropriate documentation. This service is provided without charge to all veterans and their families regardless of financial need.
To qualify for veteran’s benefits, an individual must provide proof of military service, dependency, injury, or disability. The VSC can assist in gathering documents such as the veteran’s DD-214, marriage licenses, birth certificates and medical records.
The VSC provides short term assistance to eligible veterans and their families who demonstrate a need. This can include:
- Temporary housing
- Prescriptions/medical bills
- Utility payments
- Security deposits
- Rent or mortgage payments
- Employment assistance
- Car repair
To be eligible for financial assistance, the veteran upon whose service the claim was made must:
- have served at least 90 days of active duty
- been discharged under honorable conditions
- be a resident of the county in which he or she is applying
- show a financial need based on income, living expenses, medical expenses, available assets, and other special circumstances if any.
Individual VSCs may also provide other services such as free transportation to VA medical facilities, emergency shelter for homeless veterans, transitional housing, case management, counseling, home health aides, and lifeline devices. The Portage County VSC even has a job development and training program of its own. The private lawncare business hires, trains and supervises veterans to give them work experience and references for future employment.
Veteran’s Service Commissions are an invaluable resource dedicated to serving those who have served in the military.