Various benefits are available to veterans and their families.
So Mark Schneck, veterans service officer for Dodge County, encourages area residents to inquire about what’s available.
Some benefits include:
Veterans registry. In conjunction with the Department of Roads, veterans are allowed to have their military status placed on their driver’s licenses. This is handy for military discounts at restaurants, participating merchants and sporting events.
Veterans can apply for honor license plates for their branch of the service. National Guard and Reservists will be able to benefit from recent legislation authorizing license plates for them as well, Schneck said.
Hunting and fishing permits. These permits cost $5 for veterans over age 65.
Discharge paper assistance. Schneck said he can assist anybody with ordering their discharge papers (DD-214) if they’ve been lost.
“We have tens of thousands of discharges in our system so there’s a possibility we have it,” Schneck said. “If the veteran’s discharge was in the St. Louis fire of 1973, the National Personnel Records Center will issue substitute discharges.”
Burial benefit. Families of veterans, who are receiving VA injury compensation or a pension, are eligible for approximately $1,000 as a one-time burial benefit if veterans are buried in a private cemetery.
If a veteran is buried at Omaha National Cemetery or Fort McPherson Cemetery by Lexington, the family would get $300.
The family has two years after the veteran has died to make this claim.
Bronze or granite grave markers, however, can be ordered at any time. Medallions are available for cremains.
The Vet Center. “We have free dog tags that are offered by the Vet Center, which assists with mental health for veterans with anxiety, depression and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder),” Schneck said.
Education. Most younger veterans eligible for the post-911 GI Bill know their benefits can be assigned to children or a spouse.
“If the veteran is returning from Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom and feels he or she is not college material, he or she can designate a child or spouse to be the recipient of his GI Bill benefits,” Schneck said. “This is not applicable to the older Montgomery or Vietnam Era GI Bill veterans.
“We also work with the Fremont Area Marine Corps League in offering financial aid and scholarships to Marine veterans.”
Younger veterans are more in tune with www.ebenefits.va.gov which allows them to submit and monitor their own claim and to update the VA of their dependent status.
Schneck said veterans need to participate in the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, Disabled American Veterans, Marine Corps League or AMVETS organizations to keep current with benefits and participate in rendering military honors at cemeteries when veterans are buried.
He said AMVETS is a post established for veterans who served during the Cold War, who may not meet American Legion or VFW criteria for membership.
For more information, Schneck may be reached at 402-727-2719 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or his office in the Dodge County Courthouse, 435 N. Park Ave., Room 203 in Fremont.