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$9 Million Lump Sum Disability Payments Obtained by Service Agency for Local Veterans

Photo by RDNE Stock project:

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello announced that the Veterans Service Agency (VSA) helped to obtain $9 million in retroactive disability claims for local veterans from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.

The veterans’ claims were originally denied by the Veterans Administration (VA), but the VSA successfully fought their cases in court.

This victory represents a 110% increase in the amount recovered compared to the final year of the previous administration.

VSA has obtained more than $27 million in these one-time, tax-free retroactive benefit payments for our local veterans in the last four years, under the leadership of Executive Director Nick Stefanovic.

Following is a breakdown of payments recovered by VSA from July, 2018 through June, 2022:

  • July 2018 – June 2019 $4,294,011

  • July 2019 – June 2020 $5,503,782

  • July 2020 – June 2021 $6,311,750

  • July 2021 – June 2022 $6,272,906

“When I took office in January 2020, I learned that the VSA was struggling to keep up with the needs of local veterans. For too long, previous administrations were cutting staff at the VSA and reducing services for our veterans,” said Bello. “One of my first steps was to approve the hiring of another Veterans Service Officer. That investment yielded an increased return of roughly $1.2 million in additional money for local veterans during that first year. Last year we added another staff member and the result is that this year we’ve doubled the amount of money we are able to get for veterans than when we took office.”

According to Bello, the investment in VSA staffing contributed to the steady return of disability payments for local veterans.

For this reason, Bello’s administration says it has increased VSA staffing levels by 25%, and that number will increase next year when the new nature-based therapy program is launched.

VSA also provides other services for local veterans: they help veterans get access to monthly benefits, such as veterans pensions, VA disability compensation, and survivor benefits for veterans’ family members. In addition, VSA also connects veterans to physical and mental health services and assists them with finding housing.