New York’s Senior Senator in Washington was in Jamestown yesterday to announce an effort that would help more military veterans get the financial help they need from Uncle Sam.
During a visit at the Chautauqua County Veterans Services Office, Senator Charles Schumer launched what he’s calling a two-pronged plan to help ensure that veterans returning home to Chautauqua County from Iraq and Afghanistan are receiving critical benefits that will allow them to afford a home and live stable civilian lives.
Schumer highlighted data that shows that more than 7,000 of the roughly 14,000 veterans in Chautauqua have not applied for the property tax benefit for veterans that is available to them and worth hundreds of dollars a year. He said a disconnect in communication between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and localities that administer federal and state benefits is to blame.
As a result, the Senator is calling on the VA to do a better job ensuring that returning veterans and their localities are coordinated and able to get vets the benefits they deserve.
Specifically, Schumer argued that the VA Home Loan division should incorporate New York’s universal property tax exemption form in discharge materials for veterans. Schumer also called on the VA to compile and provide a bi-annual list of veterans to the Chautauqua County Executive’s Office and the Chautauqua County Veteran’s Service Agency as they return home. He said that would allow localities that distribute veteran benefits to form a more accurate list of veterans in their region, and to reach out directly when new benefits and services are available to them. Schumer also suggested the VA work harding at reaching younger veterans by utilizing the tools and services of social media.