Missouri’s veterans have told the state commission that coordinates services for them that it has a lot of work to do.
The commission held more than twenty listening sessions last year to assess veterans’ needs and its own levels of services. The commission was working with the six members groups of the Missouri Veterans Organization, the federal veterans affairs department, the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission and other organizations.
Missouri has about 540,000 veterans.
Executive Director Larry Kay says the top thing that emerged is that a lot of veterans don’t know a lot of things about the services that are available to them. “We even found that as a Missouri Veterans Commission, we don’t really have a manual that shows what kinds of benefits are available from the state…So when we had questions, even about state benefits, we couldn’t answer those like we should be able to,” he says.
Kay says rural and urban veterans see issues with transportation to VA hospitals and clinics. Younger veterans see needs in healthcare for post-traumatic stress disorder, job training, and education.
He says it’s also clear the state commission needs to better coordinate with the federal Veterans Administration.