Veterans Services continues to make a difference
Published on November 09, 2021
Wendy Nally and Nickie Phillips, Veterans Service Officers at the Weld County Department of Veterans Services, don’t have to look far to see the impact they have on the more than 17,000 veterans who call Weld County home. The proof hangs on their office walls in the form of thank-you letters from the various people they’ve helped over the years.
“It’s nice to know you’ve done a good job,” said Nally, who joined Veterans Services in 2015. “I’m often stopped by veterans we’ve helped who thank me and let me know they’ve referred others to our office. That’s neat!”
The effort put in by Veterans Services every year is also reflected in numbers. 2021 figures are not yet available, but in 2020 Weld County veterans received more than $156 million in funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) — more than an $18 million increase from 2019, according to the National Center of Veterans Analysis and Statistics. So far this year, more than 1,085 people have received help by visiting Veterans Services in person, while staff has fielded over 4,636 phone calls.
“The effort of our Veterans Services staff in helping our veterans find and apply for benefits is truly appreciated,” said Weld County Chair Steve Moreno. “While we can never fully repay them for their service and sacrifice, helping them through the benefit process is an important way we can show our gratitude.”
Differing from the VA — who is the benefit provider — Veterans Service Officers serve as a crucial link in helping veterans navigate the benefit-application process. Beyond helping veterans and their families initially apply for education benefits, benefits related to non-connected and service-connected disabilities, burial items such as headstones and markers and enrollment into the VA health care system, both Phillips and Nally follow a claim once it’s been submitted keeping the veteran or their family informed of any information that may be needed. While the VA makes the final determination as to whether someone is eligible to receive benefits, Veterans Services greatly reduces the burden of applying for benefits and can speed up the process.
“One bad experience applying for benefits can completely derail someone’s effort,” said Phillips, who first served as a Veterans Service Officer in 2013 for Larimer County before joining Weld County in 2018. “But when a person comes to our office, we know exactly what form they need to fill out. It’s great to be able to help our service members and save them quite a bit of time as well.”
To learn more about Veterans Services, click “Veterans Services” under “Government” at www.weldgov.com.