One-on-one assistance is available for veterans

FREEHOLD, NJ – The Board of Chosen Freeholders opened a County Veteran Services Office today at the newly named Office on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans Services. The name was changed to reflect the expanded services offered to Monmouth County veterans.

“Monmouth County ranks third statewide among the highest population of veterans in New Jersey; however it ranks fifth in the state for total Veterans Administration expenditures,” Freeholder Amy A. Mallet said. “That statistic is about change. Today we officially open our doors to help our veterans get the state and federal benefits they so rightly deserve.”

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Freeholder Amy A. Mallet addresses veterans at the Nov. 10 opening of the new Monmouth County Veterans Services Office.

Monmouth County is the 17th county in the state to have a County Veterans Services Office (CVSO). It is housed in the Office on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans Services, located off Court Street just behind and to the west the Monmouth County Hall of Records. The office works with other veterans organizations and military bases to keep them up to date on the most current information from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

 

“As any veteran knows, there are literally thousands of Veterans Administration programs and benefits available to veterans,” said Thomas Pivinski, director of the Office on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans Services. “Our office stands ready to assist veterans in learning what benefits are available to them and to help them fill out the necessary paperwork to apply for these benefits.”

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Keynote speaker Greg Bean of East Brunswick said it is vitally important that veterans get the help they need, especially after serving a tour of duty. Bean’s son, Coleman, committed suicide after two tours of duty in Iraq. Coleman Bean, 25, was part of the military’s Individual Ready Reserve, a pool of tens of thousands of post-active duty service members not assigned to a particular unit. As a result, Bean was cut off from his former Army buddies, as well as from counseling help.

“Our son tried and failed to navigate the VA to obtain services,” Bean said. “An office like this could have been a great help to him and will be a great help to many others. Having a place where veterans can go where someone will advocate for them is wonderful.”

Monmouth’s County Veterans Services Office was created with no additional costs. Two county employees have undergone training to become certified County Veterans Services Officers, and
will help veterans cut through the red tape and get the benefits to which they are entitled. The two employees will act as advocates for individual veterans in need. They are Sue Moleon and Debbie Bottomley.

Putting benefits in the hands of veterans is good not only for them, but it helps the local economy by placing less of a burden on Medicaid, transportation and housing. It also would promote greater financial independence for veterans and their families.

“Monmouth’s County Veterans Services Officers will serve the veterans, their spouses and their families with dignity and compassion,” Mallet said. “They are their principal advocate in ensuring they receive the benefits to which they are entitled.”

The office will help veterans with the following:

  • Determine eligibility for all VA programs;
  • Compensation and pensions
  • Claims preparation, submission and follow-up;
  • Initiate and develop appeals when appropriate;
  • Education and Vocational Rehabilitation/Employment;
  • GI Life Insurance and waiver of premiums;
  • Medical information for in-patient, outpatient and nursing home care;
  • Home loan guaranty assistance
  • Death and burial benefits;
  • Dependency Indemnity Compensation Assistance;
  • Complete referral services, including:
  1. individual counseling
  2. group counseling
  3. family counseling
  4. marital counseling;
  5. alcohol and drug assessment
  6. employment counseling
  7. Agent Orange information and referral
  8. post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) referral
  9. traumatic brain injury (TBI) counseling
  10. readjustment counseling for combat veterans and their families
  11. bereavement counseling for families who lose an active duty service member;

Also in attendance were Rep. Rush Holt, Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, Freeholder John P. Curley and Freeholder Emeritus Ted Narozanick.