September 5, 2012
Florida veterans miss out on millions of dollars in state and federal aid every year. Mainly because they don’t know they qualify or don’t know where to turn to receive benefits. The Florida Department of Veteran Affairs is launching a new campaign to help Florida’s 1.6 million veterans receive the help they earned.
US Air Force Veteran Jimmy Fox was at the state capitol Wednesday to spread the message to his brothers-in-arms that help is available.
“I get paid to go to class. The VA gives you a certain amount of money per credit hour,” said Fox.
While Fox is enjoying his earned benefits thousands of Florida’s veterans don’t even know they qualify. Millions of dollars worth of state and federal aid goes unclaimed ever year.
“We are here to announce an initiative that we hope will connect more of our state’s veterans with those benefits and those services that they rightly earned,” said Florida Department of Veteran Affairs Secretary Mike Prendergast.
The Florida Department of Veteran Affairs is launching a new campaign to inform veterans of their benefits. The department created a website and a mobile phone app where veterans can apply.
Spreading the word becomes increasingly complicated when you take in to account the thousands of Florida veterans with no place to call home. Among the homeless one out of five is a veteran. Many still carry the mental wounds of war.
Suicide is also common. Since 2005 more than 17-hundred veterans have ended their own lives. The pace is quickening, with nearly one suicide a day this year. The website and app give veterans and family members worried about their soldier emergency access to mental health.
The online services are aimed at Florida’s 230-thousand veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. For the remaining 1.4 million there are PSAs and the state will also take out newspaper ads.
To find all the benefits available to veterans visit floridavets.org. There are also directions on the website to download the mobile app to your smart phone.