Central Florida Vets Upset Over Long Waits At VA Offices

Osceola, FL plans to respond to veterans’ complaints about long waits at VA offices. Some vets have claimed they had to wait hours to get assistance with Florida VA disability claims. Osceola is home to almost 17,000 veterans, but only three staff members work there, and a small office in St. Cloud’s City Hall is only open for limited hours. Orange County has 75,000 veterans and seven staff members at its VA Affairs office. Seminole County has three staff members for its 38,000 veterans. Vets have gone to Orlando from Kissimmee but they still end up back in Kissimmee, because the crowd is even larger.Some veterans said one of the reasons behind the delay could be the 2,000 page rules and regulations book that is used by the employees to assist the Vets in filing their claims.

State and Municipal Veterans Affairs Offices are funded by their own budgets and not funded or supplemented by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Osceola County doesn’t have to pay for veteran services, but the cash-strapped county could soon spend even more money to help its Vets. For Osceola County, VA services cost about $160,000 a year. The county may soon spend another $60,000 to hire two new employees, and there are plans to expand the St. Cloud office. A county spokesman stated it is a wise investment.

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