Virtual Options for Veterans Increase Access to Services in Santa Clara County

As the County of Santa Clara honors veterans and their families during the month of November, officials highlight new ways to access benefits

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— November is Veterans and Military Families Month in Santa Clara County, a proclamation that calls on community members to honor those who have served our nation. As part of this month’s celebrations and tributes, County officials are highlighting new ways for veterans to get help to apply for critical federal, state, and local benefits.

“Our veterans have made countless sacrifices for our country. We must make sure they get whatever help they need to adjust to civilian life when they return,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Otto Lee. “We need to help remove any barriers they have to getting the benefits they deserve.”

The application process for state and federal benefits is often complex, County officials say, and representatives at the Office of Veterans Services are trained to help veterans and their dependents navigate the system. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, meetings with staff were only available in person. When the health crisis began limiting in-person services, the Office adapted to virtual offerings, and now, one out of every four interactions is done remotely.

As COVID-19 restrictions lifted this summer and the Office’s lobby reopened to the public, the average number of claims staff helped submit has increased about 17% compared to the height of the pandemic. Of those, the biggest jump was in disability claims, which increased by about 25%.  

“I’m thrilled to see the higher level of activity in our office. It means that our veterans are reaching us and getting the help they need,” said David Till, Director of the County’s Office of Veterans Services. “Our goal is to make sure our veterans have access to benefits they have earned through their service and sacrifice. We are fully staffed and ready to take on more clients as needed.”

Virtual sessions are conducted through Microsoft Teams or Zoom and can be scheduled by appointment. Virtual “walk-ins” are also available every Tuesday (excluding holidays) from 8:45 a.m. to noon, and from 1 to 4:30 p.m. During this time, veterans or their dependents are placed in private sessions with representatives for a half hour session to discuss and begin the process to apply for veterans’ benefits.

For more information on the Office of Veterans Services and to make an appointment, visit the Office’s website, call (408) 918-4980, or e-mail [email protected].

MEDIA OPPORTUNITY:

Veterans and their families will have a chance to learn more about benefits and meet County officials during a Veterans Day Celebration on Wednesday, November 10, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The celebration will begin around noon at Hellyer Park, located at 985 Hellyer Ave., in San José. The public can honor those who served, and veterans can meet County leaders, including Supervisor Lee, who will speak at the event. Free food and drinks will be provided. The public is encouraged to RSVP by calling 408-918-4980.

 

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ABOUT THE COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA 

The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, California, making it more populous than 14 states in the U.S. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits.

Visit the County of Santa Clara at: https://www.sccgov.org

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Media Contact: María Leticia Gómez/Quan Vu,  Office of Communications and Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119, [email protected]

Posted: November 8, 2021​

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