Connect Vets Program

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - FSU ROTC Junior Lee Schafer is honoring US troops killed in Vietnam. Lee and dozens of other students are walking the walls of this Vietnam War Memorial for 24 hours in remembrance.

“Everyone who calls themselves an American citizen should remember those who have sacrificed their lives,” said Schafer.

But many have been forgotten and more than a billion dollars worth of benefits for Florida veterans goes unclaimed every year. A program launched four months ago is helping vets find the services they are entitled to. Florida Vets Connects gives veterans the option to find out more about benefits, by checking a box on their drivers licenses renewal form. CFO Alex Sink helped launch the program, with no added cost to taxpayers.

“They’ve lost contact. They’ve continued on with their regular lives and they don’t know about everything they may qualify for,” said Sink. .

So far 50-thousand veterans have taken advantage of the program. The soldiers are emailed information about health care benefits, education, home loans and tax breaks. The help comes as researchers try to find out why the suicide rate among veterans is higher then the general public.

The Department of Defense is giving Florida State University 17 million dollars to find out why. The goal isn’t just to pinpoint the cause, but to also find a prevention.

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