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FAQ's

  1. What is the Veterans Service Commission?
  2. What is the role of the Veterans Service Commission?
  3. Do you provide temporary financial assistance?
  4. When is transportation available to the VA medical centers?
  5. Where can I get information about my late father's military career?
  6. What can I do to upgrade my bad conduct discharge, if possible?
  7. I was cleaning my father's apartment and found an old benefits check he apparently misplaced and never deposited. Is there a time limit on how long a veteran can hold benefits checks from VA without cashing them?
  8. How does a veteran become enrolled in the "direct deposit" program for VA compensation or pension benefits?
  9. I was on active military duty from 1959 through 1960. I recently became disabled, not from any service-connected cause, and may not be able to return to work. Am I eligible for nonservice-connected pension benefits from VA since I now have a limited income?

1. What is the Veterans Service Commission?

The Erie County Veterans Service Commission is a board of five honorably discharged veterans who oversee operation of the County's Veterans Service Office. Our role is to see that veterans, their spouses, and their dependent children, as well as surviving spouses of deceased veterans, obtain temporary financial assistance when they are in need. We also assist veterans in obtaining earned benefits from Federal, State, and local government agencies.

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2. What is the role of the Veterans Service Commission?

To oversee the operation of the Veterans Service Office; to provide temporary financial assistance to indigent veterans, spouses, dependent children and surviving spouses; and to assist veterans in obtaining earned benefits from the Federal, State, and local levels of government.

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3. Do you provide temporary financial assistance?

Temporary funds for food, housing and utilities may be provided to veterans and/or their dependants. Eligible veterans will have established 90-days of residency in Erie County. The following factors will be considered when determining financial need: proof of veteran status (DD-214 or other separation or discharge record), proof of household income, assets, and current bills. Unemployed veterans are required to be actively seeking employment or must provide medical evidence of the inability to work.

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4. When is transportation available to the VA medical centers?

Residents of Erie County can ride on vans to the Cleveland area VA Medical Centers (external). Home pick-up is available daily at 6:30 a.m. Commercial transportation to the Sandusky VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic is provided as well. Call at least one workday before appointment to schedule a ride.

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5. Where can I get information about my late father's military career?

VA may have some records available if a decendent was a VA beneficiary. You may send identifying information to your nearest VA regional office. Useful information would include full name, VA file number, branch of service, service serial number, Social Security number, exact dates of birth or death, and enlistment and discharge dates. If the veteran has not been a VA beneficiary, you may call the regional office at 1-800-827-1000 to request Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records, to file with the National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records, 9700 Page Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63132. You can also contact your county Veterans Service Office.

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6. What can I do to upgrade my bad conduct discharge, if possible?

Call the Veterans Benefits Administration's toll-free number at 1-800-827-1000 to request that you be sent DD Form 293. This will provide information on how to appeal your discharge status. If more than 15 years passed since discharge, DD Form 149 should be used. You may also contact your county Veterans Service Office.

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7. I was cleaning my father's apartment and found an old benefits check he apparently misplaced and never deposited. Is there a time on how long a veteran can hold benefits checks from VA without cashing them?

Government checks more than a year old can no longer be cashed. Those holding VA benefits checks longer than one year must apply to VA for a replacement.

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8. How does a veteran become enrolled in the "direct deposit" program for VA compensation or pension benefits?

Enrollment in this service, which is recommended for efficiency and security, can be accomplished by telephone. You may reach your local VA regional office at 1-800-827-1000. A benefits counselor there can enroll you so that your benefits check can be electronically credited to your bank account each month. Some VA benefits such as education payments and insurance dividends are not included in the direct deposit program, however.

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9. I was on active military duty from 1959 through 1960. I recently became disabled, not from any service-connected cause, and may not be able to return to work. Am I eligible for nonservice-connected pension benefits from VA since I now have a limited income?

Veterans' entitlement to nonservice-connected disability pension is premised on three basic criteria: the individual must have a minimum of 90 days of active military service, one of which must have been during a designated wartime period; the veteran must be permanently and totally disabled or so disabled that it would be impossible for the average person to pursue substantially gainful employment; and the veteran's countable income must be within limits defined by statute. Because your active service was entirely during peacetime, you do not meet the service eligibility requirement for pension benefits.

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