Veterans Service Office helps vets receive millions in benefits

The Morrison County Veterans Service Office is a busy place.

At a planning meeting Tuesday, the Morrison County commissioners heard from Kathy Marshik, veterans service officer, who explained the duties of the office and veteran contact numbers for an average month.

The Veterans Service Office operates with a staff of three. Because of a recent resignation, two employees have been maintaining the office until the third position is filled.

The veteran population in Morrison County in 2015 was 2,811. The report showed that in an average month, the office receives 391 phone calls, 169 emails, sees 201 walk-ins and has 278 appointments.

In 2015, county veterans received $40.816 million in total benefits.  This included pensions, compensations, insurance and indemnities and educational and rehabilitation benefits

In addition, 1,673 Morrison County veterans received $16.694 million in medical care through the Veterans Administration (VA).

Marshik said that the office has served veterans from other counties and other states when contacted.

The office serves six branches of service: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines, each constructed of active National Guard and Reserve components, currently serving service members, veteran retirees and dependents.

Functions that are provided by the Veterans Service Office include, but are not limited to, helping veterans obtain compensation and pensions for service connected injuries; educational benefits for dependents, service members and veterans; insurance for healthcare, life insurance and dental care through the VA, Department of Defense (DOD), Social Services and public health entities as appropriate; counseling, resourcing, advising and advocacy of claims, health care, appeals, etc.

The office also assists with the VA and DOD programs, which are broken into several entities such as pay, travel, human resources, health care, housing, nursing homes, cemeteries and many other activities.  They manage over 10 different programs with VA and DOD state and federal organizations..