Local veterans request 50 percent budget increase
Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 01:10
The Butler County Veterans Service Commission has asked for a $700,000 increase for its 2014 budget, according Executive Director and Service Office of the agency, Curtis McPherson.
The bulk of this increased budget will go to the transportation program, according to McPherson.
The Veterans Service Commission has a contract with the BCRTA that helps veterans commute back and forth to the VA Medical Center in Cincinnati. According to Chief Service Officer Matt Jones, this service is free to the veterans for two trips every week as long as they were honorably discharged and served active duty in the military. This contract will soon be expiring.
But that is just one portion of the new budget.
“The next portion is we plan on working on doing a major outreach program in order to better reach the veterans throughout Butler County for filing for compensation and pension,” McPherson said.
Publicity and advertisements comprise another part of the new budget.
“The expense is advertising in order to get people to come in to file claims for compensation and or pension,” McPherson said.
According to McPherson, the Veterans Service Commission wants to financially assist the veterans as well. Every state has different financial needs, according to McPherson.
“Some of the bigger counties do not consider transportation because they have public transportation,” McPherson said.
Also a United States Air Force Veteran, McPherson explained that in the state of Ohio, the Ohio Revised Code stipulates that every county will have a veteran service commission.
There are three missions of the Butler County Veterans Service Commission, according to McPherson. First, every veteran should receive any federal or state entitlement that they are due. Secondly, they should be assisted to and from medical appointments and lastly, they should be able to file for emergency temporary financial assistance.
According to Jones, their agency provides a number of benefits that can help out the veterans and their families.
“Our main focus is to help the veterans,” Jones said. “Basically, we act as advocates for the veterans, we help them navigate the process of how to gain these benefits or if it’s worth their while to even try and attempt them.”
Some of the benefits such as medical treatments and short-term financial assistance for emergencies are taken care of by the Veterans Service Commission. But they also help veterans by guiding them towards other professionals who can help with other things like job seeking, resume help and earning an income.
The Veterans Service Commission encourages veterans to come and talk to them, according to Jones.
“If we can’t help them, it’s possible we can point them in the direction of someone who can help them,” Jones said.
The Veterans Service Commission can act as a resource or a link between the veterans and these resources, depending on their problem.
Miami Senior Ankita Pandey said she believes the veterans deserve this increase in their budget.
“They served our country once and if they can be helped out in any way, they should be,” Pandey said.