CSAC Pushes to Double Funding to Help Veterans
May 6, 2021
This week CSAC wrote a letter to the Legislature advocating for nearly doubling funding for County Veterans Services Offices (CVSO) from $5.6 million to $11 million. CVSOs are often the initial contact in the community for veterans who require assistance in determining federal, state, and local benefits available to them and their dependents. This budget increase could be used to expand the critical services of CVSOs by employing new Veterans Service Representatives at contact points, such as VA hospitals, and increasing outreach to the nearly 11,000 veterans in the state experiencing homelessness.
In total, California’s veterans are missing out on an estimated $1.3 billion a year in federal benefits based on comparison with other states. This means an estimated 75,000 veterans and their families are not getting the benefits to which they are entitled. CVSOs work to bridge this gap by helping with claims, advocacy, and assistance with information regarding medical, pension and educational benefits, home loans, and more.
Connecting veterans to the appropriate federal VA services, treatment, and cash benefits can often be the difference between being housed and being on the streets. The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified this need. Counties work hard every day to combat this crisis with an approach that meets veterans where they’re located and need appropriate funding levels to do so.