- Report Published -
|Virginia Department of Veterans Services Commissioner’s 2010 Annual Report - December 1, 2010|
|Department of Veterans Services|
|§ 2.2-2004 (9.)|
|I was deeply honored to be appointed Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services this past April. The honor of being chosen to lead the agency tasked with serving Virginia’s 823,000 veterans brings with it the responsibility of ensuring their welfare as well as fulfilling Governor McDonnell’s goal to make Virginia the most veteran-friendly state in the nation. |
DVS had already made significant accomplishments during FY10, but during the last three months of the fiscal year, the agency embarked squarely on a mission to become even more dynamic and responsive to veteran’s needs—from our elderly World War II and Korean War veterans to our newest and often youngest veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq.
By taking control of our information technology future, we have guided the agency away from a lengthy and costly development of a database system to replace the agency’s current inadequate system and once again put our support behind TurboVet. Over the past two years, AMVETS nurtured development of this software program, which will provide an automated solution that both veterans and veteran service organizations can use to develop claims for USDVA benefits. As a result, a beta version was presented in November to the Department of Veterans Services, members of the McDonnell administration, representatives from veterans service organizations, and members of the Board of Veterans Services and Joint Leadership Council of Veterans Service Organizations (JLC). Beta testing will be conducted during December, and roll out could be as early as spring 2011.
During the past year, veterans again enjoyed bipartisan support from the Virginia General Assembly thanks largely to the strong leadership of the JLC. Of six legislative initiatives, five were passed, including passage of legislation proposing a constitutional amendment to grant real estate tax relief to veterans with a 100 percent, permanent and total, service-connected disability. Voters overwhelmingly voted yes to this amendment in November.
DVS provides a broad range of services—from assisting veterans and their families with the benefits claims process, helping wounded warriors, and supporting educational benefits for veterans, to caring for injured, ill, and elderly veterans and meeting their final needs through our cemetery services. This report details the accomplishments of each of the agency’s five areas of service. However, I’m proud to provide this quick snapshot of agency accomplishments during FY10.
• Filed 26,431 disability compensation claims, more than an eight percent increase over FY09. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) adjudicated 15,941 claims submitted by DVS, and approved 11,233, or approximately 70 percent. Virginia veterans received nearly $32 million in retroactive claim awards during FY10, more than a 12% increase over the previous year.
• Disbursed $1.3 million in funding to five regional consortia to provide services at the community level to veterans with combat stress and traumatic brain injuries as well as to their families.
• Certified that 963 educational programs met G.I. Bill requirements. Virginia veterans received more than $130 million in educational benefits during FFY09, and Virginia ranks fifth in the nation in terms of the number of veterans using their G.I. Bill benefits.
• Provided 137,052 patient days of care at the Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center and the Virginia Veterans Care Center in Roanoke.
• Served the memorial needs of Virginia’s veterans by performing 1,015 burials at Virginia’s two state veterans cemeteries, more than a 14 percent increase over FY09.
I fully expect this agency to achieve major accomplishments in the coming months—opening of the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery, increasing the number of veterans and their families served by the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program, beta testing and possibly implementing TurboVet, and working with the McDonnell administration and our key partners to make Virginia the nation’s most veteran friendly state.
Paul E. Galanti, Commander, USN (Ret.)