Successful compensation and pension applications will result in more than $63 million in federal veterans benefits for Linn County veterans this year.
This Veterans Day, the Linn County Veteran Affairs Department thanks all veterans for their service and wants veterans and their families to know about the free services the department provides to local veterans and their families.
Throughout our nation’s history, millions of Americans have worn the uniform of our nation. Every year, approximately 200,000 veterans leave active duty and return to civilian life. According to the Geographic Distribution of VA Expenditures Report for Fiscal Year 2022, there are currently 182,640 veterans living in Iowa. Of these, 14,226 choose to call Linn County home. The transition from service to civilian life requires veterans and their families to make significant changes to their employment, financial stability, housing, and social support networks. This transition is inherently stressful.
Linn County Veteran Affairs has four nationally accredited veterans service officers who help ease this transition and help veterans navigate the complexities of the VA system to get the most benefits they have earned. This free service is available for all Linn County veterans and their dependents. These services include helping veterans submit compensation and pension applications that will result in more than $63 million in federal veterans benefits for Linn County veterans this year.
“We are here to assist veterans and their eligible dependents with the benefits application process,” Veteran Affairs Director Dustin Peterson said. “For some, the thought of submitting their initial claim can be very intimidating. Working with a nationally accredited veteran service officer can help reduce the confusion and anxiety associated with filing a claim. We have the experience and knowledge to answer questions and to make navigating the process a lot easier.”
In addition to federal programs for compensation and pension, additional benefits available to eligible veterans may include:
- Emergency assistance (rent, mortgage, and utilities)
- Indigent burial
- Obtaining military discharges, military medical records, and medals
- VA healthcare applications and referrals to other VA resources
- Veteran designation on Iowa Driver’s License or State ID
- Iowa Veterans Cemetery
- Iowa Veterans Home
- Iowa Veterans Trust Fund
- Flag holders for veterans buried in Linn County
- Death and memorial benefits
“Our commitment to veterans doesn’t stop once the initial claim has been submitted. Our department’s commitment to serving veterans spans from the day he or she leaves the service to providing services to his or her surviving spouse. This lifetime commitment includes informing veterans of changes to VA benefits and eligibility, filing additional claims after the initial claim has been decided, and assisting veterans throughout the appeals process,” Peterson said.
Linn County Veteran Affairs and the Linn County Mental Health Access Center work together to help with the mental health needs of veterans. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 5.2 million veterans experienced a behavioral health condition in 2020. The concerning part of that data is that more than half of veterans with a mental illness did not receive treatment within the past year.
The Mental Health Access Center is open seven days a week from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. for walk-in mental health and substance use disorder crisis care for adults aged 18 and older. Foundation 2 Mobile Crisis care is available during non-walk-in hours. When a veteran receives services from the Access Center, staff will help connect the veteran to Linn County Veteran Affairs. The Mental Health Access Center is located at 501 13th St. NW in Cedar Rapids.
If you or someone you know may be eligible for veterans’ benefits, call Linn County Veteran Affairs at 319-892-5160, email Veteran Affairs staff, or visit LinnCountyIowa.gov/Veteran to fill out a contact form.
Linn County Veteran Affairs is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Appointments are strongly encouraged. We recommend contacting the office prior to your visit, to ensure that you are aware of what documents you will need for the services you are requesting.