WDVA is pleased to announce the selection of two new counties to receive grant funding to hire County Veteran Service Officers. These grants were made possible with the passage and funding of HB 1448 during the 2019 Legislative Session and additional funding provided during the 2022 Legislative Session.
Island and Walla Walla counties were selected after a thorough review of their applications which documented how a County Veteran Service Officer would serve veterans and their families. A total of $220,000 was made available for these two counties with a requirement to fund new County Veteran Service Officers. This funding is available through June 30, 2023. Island and Walla Walla counties join Clallam and Stevens counties in receiving funds through the rural County Veterans Service Officer Fund totaling $480,000 per fiscal year.
County Veteran Service Officers assist veterans and family members with claims to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for VA Disability Compensation, Pension, Survivors Pension, and other financial assistance programs. Successful claims often result in the veteran or family member receiving monthly compensation which provides a stable source of income. In Washington State, veterans and their families receive over $3.4 billion each year through VA Disability Compensation, Pension or Survivors Pension. These dollars are often invested back into local communities as veterans and families pay their household expenses, purchase homes, and send their children to school.
The service officers will also help connect veterans and their families to other benefits such as health care, housing, and education. By connecting veterans to their earned veterans benefits, counties can free up resources for more non-veterans to utilize local programs for housing, health care, and other support services.
WDVA appreciates the State Legislature’s support of the County Veteran Service Officer Program and looks forward to supporting each service officer with the tools and training they need to be successful.