WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From The Westchester County Department of Communications. August 15, 2019:
County Executive George Latimer and Ron Tocci (right) join veterans at Community Outreach Program kickoff event. (Photo, Westchester Department of Communications)
On Wednesday, Legislator Kitley Covill (D – Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers), County Executive George Latimer and the County Veterans Service Agency welcomed veterans and family members to Westchester’s first Community Outreach Day, held at the Mount Kisco American Legion.
In the coming months, the County will hold additional such days as it continues its efforts to provide opportunities to veterans, in addition to the ongoing services available at the Veterans Service Agency’s main office in White Plains.
These events not only celebrate our veterans, but also offer meaningful assistance. Veterans, or a spouse or caretaker for a veteran, can learn what services and resources are available, and take advantage of County and VA personnel who are on site to facilitate applying for and getting the benefits that have been earned.
For veterans unable to attend these events due to a disability, Legislator Covill has worked with the Bedford Veterans Advisory Committee to reach veterans in need of assistance with their benefit applications.
In a new initiative, annual letters are being sent to veterans who are long-term Medicaid recipients, letting them know that if they are having difficulty accessing their VA benefits, accredited representatives will fight for them — helping them understand their options, expediting applications and filing appeals. This new initiative will help the County in supporting our veterans.
Examples of benefits veterans may be eligible for include: healthcare counseling, including mental health; employment assistance; disability compensation for veterans disabled by injury or disease incurred by or aggravated during military service; and additional pension support for permanently disabled or low-income veterans.
Legislator Covill said, “The veterans in Westchester County served on our behalf, and it is important for us to have resources available in District 2 to help them obtain the benefits they earned. The staff present on Wednesday know how the systems at the VA work and can navigate the application process, helping our veterans efficiently and on the spot. In addition, this letter campaign will help us to better assist those of our veterans who are unable to attend events such as this. I look forward to meeting our veterans at the event.”
David Zapsky, Chair of the Bedford Veterans Advisory Committe, said, “As Chair of the Bedford Veterans Advisory Committee, I want to thank Westchester County for its outreach efforts. Veterans who served our country have earned benefits, but sometimes, either through process frustrations or unawareness, do not receive those benefits. One of our members, Mark Sindeband, worked tirelessly with other veterans and County Legislator Covill to renew efforts and give all veterans an opportunity to obtain VA benefits in an efficient manner with the professional help available at the Westchester County Veterans Service Agency.”
County Executive George Latimer said, “In Westchester County, many veterans are eligible for services they may not even know exist. While veterans are always welcome to the main office in White Plains, we know that logistically this may not always be possible. That is why our Veterans Service Agency is committed to going out into the community to meet vets where they are.”