Overview: Montgomery County Veterans Awards
Source: Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs 2015-2016 Annual Report
The Montgomery County Veterans Service Organization has the fourth largest county veteran population in the State of Tennessee, currently serving more than 29,000 veterans (U.S. Census), as well as their family members. For fiscal year 2015-2016, $248,974,000 in benefits were awarded to these veterans, placing Montgomery County well ahead of Davidson County (Nashville) at $130,813,000; Hamilton County (Chattanooga) at $85,073,000 and Knox County (Knoxville) at $107,975,000.
The department's staff consists of two administrative assistants, five full-time veterans service officers/benefit counselors, and a director and assistant director, both of whom also serve as counselors. Benefit counselors, who are all veterans themselves, advise veterans, dependents and surviving spouses on a wide array of federal and state veterans benefits. They undergo quarterly and annual training to stay current on changing laws that affect veterans' benefits and are certified by the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). Counselors are knowledgeable in Department of Veterans Affairs’ rules and regulations and help eligible beneficiaries file claims for service-connected disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation, burial and death benefits, non-service connected disability pension, and also provide information on DVA healthcare and education, insurance and other benefits.
While veterans may file for all benefits on their own or through eBenefits, a counselor can help them navigate what is often a complex system. According to the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers, between 75 and 90 percent of DVA claims processed each year originate in a county veterans service office.
Montgomery County service officers are appointed by the county mayor and are county employees who work closely with other veterans organizations and the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services to provide the best possible service to Montgomery County's large veteran population.
The MCVSO also is involved in organizing and coordinating the community's various veterans activities and observances such as the annual Veterans Day Parade, Memorial Day Ceremony, Flag Day Ceremony, WWI, WWII and Korean War Commemorative Community Ceremonies and recognize POW/MIA Day, V-J Day and Pearl Harbor Day and other important veteran dates and events.
We are dedicated to providing the highest quality of service, determination, and counseling for all veterans. We will provide referral service to other state and federal agencies for veterans, surviving spouses, and their dependents to ensure quicker access to the benefits to which they are entitled.
We will strive to meet the needs of 90 percent of Montgomery County veterans, their dependents, and surviving spouses in an efficient manner.
- Veterans, dependents and surviving spouses are not fully informed about Veterans Administration benefits and entitlements
- Veterans with disabilities are not receiving all benefits to which they are entitled
- The community is not aware of the veterans' sacrifices
- The community should be aware of the economic impact that VA compensation awards has on the economy
- It is projected there will be a 20 percent increase in claimant volume as a result of soldiers separating from the military and residing in Montgomery County
- Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs requires all service officers to obtain annual VA accreditation in order to serve the veteran community
- The Veterans Service Office staff will provide ongoing information to the Montgomery County veterans' community regarding changes in VA benefits, to include VA health care service through clinics and outreach programs. Total cost for brochures, pamphlets and flyers is estimated at $500 annually (funding will be through funding code 54990).
- Ninety percent of veterans with disabilities will receive all benefits and services they are entitled to the greatest extent possible. The VSO staff will be responsible for assisting the veterans.
- By promoting veteran-oriented events, the VSO staff will act as an advocate to enhance citizen awareness of the sacrifices veterans have made. The VSO staff will host annual events at a total estimated annual cost of $3600 (funding will be through funding code 54990).
- To maintain accreditation, the director will establish a comprehensive in-house training program to ensure that staff members remain cognizant of changes in various VA policies, procedures, and regulations.
- Three hundred to 500 brochures will be distributed, one outreach program will be established, and 200 to 300 veterans will be registered for health screenings
- Ninety percent of veterans with disabilities, dependents, and surviving spouses served by the VSO will receive benefits they are seeking
- The VSO will coordinate and host the following annual events: Veterans Day parade. Memorial Day ceremony. Flag Day ceremony, and other significant veterans' dates and events (an estimated 1300 to 1500 citizens attend)
- Publication of annual VA reports showing total monetary awards granted to Montgomery County
- Establishment of a comprehensive in-house training program designed to assist both the new as well as established employees.
- Number of brochures printed 300 to 500
- Number of veterans' dependents and surviving spouses registered for follow-up services is an estimated 40 percent
- Local service organization, media support, newspaper, TV and radio coverage, guest speakers for each event, will reach an estimated 1300 to 1500 veterans.
- Present copies of VA's annual report and monetary awards showing total dollars awarded (by county) by the VA
- Identify and obtain a qualified instructor to present additional training
- Total number of veterans, dependents and surviving spouses not currently receiving benefits is estimated at 34,000 individuals
- Total number of veterans with disabilities being served estimated at 2,880 annually
- Total number of veterans and dependents seeking benefits is an estimated 29000
- Community should know total dollars awarded by the VA per veteran population
- Accreditation is a requirement
- Reaching veterans groups that may not otherwise have known about VA benefits and services is an estimated cost of $500.00 to $600.00 dollars annually.
- Better quality of life for veterans and dependents, as well as a positive economic impact on the community, would be compensation coming in to the community at an estimated $2,673.00 per each eligible veteran
- Awareness of known veterans' events and honoring veterans for their sacrifices and impact on our nation will cost an estimated $500.00 to $600.00 dollars annually.
- Enhanced overall service output
- Additional output