Long Island has one of the highest concentrations of veterans in the country, with Suffolk County as its heart, and with so many vets resources spread throughout the Island, Suffolk has looked to create a comprehensive guide to help navigate the breadth of supportive services.
County legislators, along with veterans and support groups, unveiled the new Suffolk County Veterans Resource Guide Feb. 11 that they say will make it easier for veterans and their families to search for available benefits and opportunities that may otherwise be missed. The Veterans Resource Guide is an informational book that supplies contact information to military veterans and their caregivers.
The guide was created as a result of legislation that Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) introduced last year.
“We have an obligation to ensure that our veterans have quick and reliable access to the services on a moment’s notice, and that is what this resource guide accomplishes,” said Anker.
Suffolk County Veterans Services Agency already has a wealth of resources, including benefit programs with information on disability compensation, pension, education, vocational rehabilitation, home loan guarantee, life insurance, legal assistance and state benefits that offer Vietnam veterans tuition, Persian Gulf veterans tuition and veterans tax exemptions.
The guide offers contacts for food assistance opportunities, health service, emotional services such as the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support group and even the number for every town tax assessor.
In addition, the county provides assistance with filing claims for benefits from federal and state agencies, filing DD-214 (discharge papers and separation papers) and in-home visits to assist the housebound veterans with claims.
“This is a very important program, so many veterans get out and don’t know where to go — not just for benefits or county programs, but also for unique programs that offer help to women veterans, LGBTQ Veterans, and those with special needs,” said Dave Rogers, Commander of the Suffolk County Council VFW.
The guide is available online as well as printed. People looking for the guide can contact Suffolk County Veterans Services Agency by calling 631-853-VETS (8387) or going to www.suffolkcountyny.gov/veterans for Suffolk County veterans services.
For online access to the Veterans Resource Guide go to www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Portals/4/docs/SuffolkCountyVetGuide.pdf.