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Veterans reminded assistance available in Cordele

Georgia Department of Veterans Service

The Georgia Department of Veterans Service (GDVS) is ready to assist Georgia’s over 700,000 veterans and their families seek help and file a claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“We exist to serve those who have served,” said GDVS Commissioner Mike Roby. “Our primary job is to explain in detail veteran related benefits afforded by both the federal and state government and, if entitled, assist in the filing and processing of those benefits.”

This personal counseling, advice and assistance by GDVS benefit experts is free, at no cost, no strings attached.

“The rules and regulations governing veteran benefits are complex and frequently change,” said Commissioner Roby. “We educate and train our staff to offer superb service to our veterans. Our field service officers are tested annually to maintain accreditation with the VA and veteran service organizations.”

There are 50 field service offices available across the state of Georgia.  One such field office is located in Cordele, in the Crisp County Government Center in Room 210 at 210 7th Street South (31015-4216).

Commissioner Roby encourages veterans living in Crisp, Dooly and Wilcox Counties to go by and visit with Ronnie Simmons, Cordele’s State Veteran Field Service Officer for information concerning their eligibility for federal and/or state benefits and on how to go about filing a claim for these benefits.

The Cordele VFSO, (229) 276-2366, is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm, Mondays through Fridays, except on approved state recognized holidays.  No appointment is required to receive assistance.  Everyone is seen on “first come, first served” basis.

Simmons will assist in filing VA applications for VA Healthcare, compensation for service-connected disabilities, pension for wartime veterans or veteran widows, financial assistance for home health care, assisted living and nursing home care, Certificates of Eligibility for a VA Home Loan, and Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits.

“The VA will pay a veteran exactly what he or she is entitled to by the law, and no more,” Commissioner Roby points out. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure a Georgia veteran or the dependent receive any and all benefits to which they are entitled.”

Simmons, a six year Army veteran, once assigned to Kosovo Forces/Task Force Falcon, can also assist in certifying a veteran’s eligibility for the many benefits provided by the state. Driver’s licenses, special motor vehicle license plates, honorary hunting and fishing licenses, discounts at Department of Natural Resources facilities and Certificates of Exemption from payment of certain fees and taxation are some benefits available to Georgia’s veterans.

According to the most recent data available (FY 2016) from the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the veterans of  Crisp, Dooly and Wilcox Counties (veteran population – about 2,500) benefited in approximately $19,400 million (tax free) of over $6 billion the VA spent statewide.

A summary of benefits provided by the state of Georgia and the department’s 2017 Annual Report can be found on the department’s website under the “About GDVS” link at www.veterans.georgia.gov .

Veteran benefits information can also be found on the department’s Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/gavetsvc.