Veterans have relied on officers trained to help vets
better understand their benefits when they return
home from duty.
But changes to state funding is causing some to worry
about the future of the program.
News eight's Eric Jacobson joins us now with more.
County Veteran Service Officers are themselves veterans.
employed by the county to help those returning home
But over the last year and a half.
reimbursement for some of their programs are being
denied by the state.
And some are worried that the funding changes.
will soon lead to the service shutting down.
Abram McDowell and Patrick McGuire are two of Vernon
County's nearly 25-hundred Veterans.
We kind of know what we've been through together,
even if you've never served together.
But once they returned home from service.
navigating their Federal and State veterans benefits...
A lot of it is greek.
Can sometimes be difficult.
I would go four, six, weeks without hearing from Veterans
That's where Vernon County's Veteran Service Officer
Tami Saleska comes in.
I work with families on getting their burial benefits.
Among other services.
the County usually receives a 10-thousand dollar grant
from the state for a tranportation program that takes
veterans to their healthcare appointments.
Because we are such a rural County, our veterans are
transported to their doctors appointments as needed.
But in the last year in a half.
the state has changed the way it helps fund these
types of programs.
Instead of providing money through grants.
the state now uses a reimbursment system.
They have given us the guidelines of what we can and
can't use the funds for.
Then at a certain period, you will put in to be reimbursed
for those funds.
That's not occuring.
So when we put in for reimbursement, that's not happening.
Meaning they must go to the County for more money.
We would have to go to our County board and ask for
an increase in funds, and they're just not available.
Seleska is worried that these funding changes *might*
be a sign of things to come.
We have people that are either trying to eliminate
County Veteran Service Officers, or withholding funding
that will help Veterans and their families.
And while McGuire does not use the transportation
he's worried about the office's future.
If the funding is dropped, we're going to have people
falling through the cracks, because they're not going
to be able to get to somebody who knows how to process
Officials and Veterans hope changes will be made to
keep transportation programs *and* the office open.
It would be a great disservice to all veterans and
our county to lose this opportunity.
Veterans and their families have signed a blank check,
a lot of them, and I think it's the least we can do.
every county must have a Veterans Service Officer.
But there have been some attempts in the Wisconsin
that would allow counties to opt out of having that
But so far.
nothing has been finalized.
La Crosse County confirmed
they also had some reimbursements
denied by the state.
but were unable to say just how much money at this