Column: Veterans should tap into earned benefitsHere in Goodhue County we have again successfully completed another national election and capped it off with by annually honoring all veterans for their service to our country.
By: Bob Davis, The Republican Eagle
Here in Goodhue County we have again successfully completed another national election and capped it off with by annually honoring all veterans for their service to our country.
Here in the county we have over 4,200 veterans from 18 years old to 100 years old who have stepped up to provide a service to all that should be honored every day of the year, not just on the Veterans Day holiday.
One way of honoring these men and women is to remind them that the majority of them have benefits and entitlements that they have rightfully earned and, yes, paid for that they are not aware of. Many of these benefits have rules and regulations that have to be met, which is why each county in Minnesota by law has a county veterans service officer and staff such as we have in Goodhue County.
Tied to these veterans benefits are some benefits for spouses, widows and dependent children which are also provided service through this office.
This article will provide me the opportunity to outline just a couple of the benefits available.
The first is a home loan guarantee that veterans earn by honorably completing their term of active duty service or completing their first commitment of reserve/guard duty, which is normally six years.
This is not a direct loan program, but the U.S.Department of Veterans Affairs will guarantee a residential loan through a bank or mortgage company and in many cases no down payment is required. In addition to the loan guarantee, there are additional home inspections required on the veteran’s behalf.
With the hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans returning home it is hoped that this program will continue to be used as successfully as it has been since World War II to bring our local home markets back into a positive light.
Another major program provided for honorably discharged veterans is of course health care at the USDVA Health Care Systems made up of major medical centers and community outpatient clinics. This is first-class care being provided across the country, and here in Minnesota is among the best in the country and many times rated the best.
The main medical center in Minneapolis is the teaching hospital for the University of Minnesota: Our specialists and many of our primary physicians are the teaching physicians at the University.
The closest community outpatient clinic is on the north side of Rochester just off 55th Street.
All veterans living in Goodhue County are encouraged to contact the Veterans Service Office to get additional information about these benefits and, of course, we will assist them in actually doing the application process. While the USDVA now has some online applications available to make it more easier for our computer generation, it is highly encouraged to us the Veterans Service Office as we are trained on all of the benefits available and most importantly at no cost to all veterans and dependents.
The Veterans Service Office is located at the Government Center Room 101, 509 W. Fifth St., Red Wing.
Your CVSO also provides out county service to Cannon Falls and Kenyon on the first Wednesday of each month and to Zumbrota and Pine Island on the second Thursday of each month. Home visits may also be scheduled for our veterans and widows unable to leave their homes.
The office phone number is 651-385-3256 and is equipped with a 24-hour answering system when the office is not open.