State budget includes funding for a statewide
Veterans Services Officers Program
STATE HOUSE — Included in the state budget passed by the General Assembly is funding specifically to support the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Veterans Services Officers Program. Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) and Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) pushed for the funding earlier this year in a resolution (2023-H 6244).
The state budget (2023-H 5200Aaa) allocates a total of $350,000 for veterans’ community service grants, of which $100,000 are to be specifically earmarked for the Veterans Services Officers Program.
“There are over 63,000 veterans in Rhode Island, and too many of them don’t know how to access their benefits,” said Representative Vella-Wilkinson, a retired naval officer. “Many of our cities and towns don’t have a local office, leaving veterans to fend for themselves in navigating sometimes-confusing websites, which just isn’t a viable option for many of our vets. I am gratified and thankful that my fellow legislators have included this appropriation so the veteran community across the state is well-served and knowledgeable when it comes to their benefits and how to access them.”
The Department of RI VFW partners with the Veterans Administration to certify VSOs, located in cities and towns across Rhode Island, who help veterans and their families with issues including healthcare, housing, education and municipal tax reductions, as well as service-connected disability claims, job readiness, home loans and burial benefits.
“Veterans have given so much for their country, including a willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice,” said Representative McEntee. “This additional funding in the the annual budget will help to expand and publicize the VSO program and enhance the lives of our veterans and military families.”