Governor’s Budget Provides Continued Support for California’s Veterans

Long-pending benefits claims submitted by California veterans and caught in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) processing “log jam” could soon see the light of day. The newly signed Governor’s Budget has authorized $3 million and 36 limited-term positions that will allow the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) to work with USDVA to help alleviate its massive veterans’ claims backlog.

The money will be used to hire a “Strike Force” team of 12 Veterans Claims Representatives (VCR) for each of USDVA’s regional offices in Oakland, Los Angeles and San Diego to focus on backlogged claims, ensuring they are properly developed and have all necessary documentation needed for adjudication.

“We appreciate the leadership of the Governor and the Speaker on this initiative as well as the Legislature’s continued support of CalVet and its efforts to ensure the well-being of California veterans and their families,” said CalVet Secretary Peter J. Gravett. “Helping them get the benefits they so richly deserve after their honorable service to our country is the very least we can do for them.”

CalVet has already begun advertising to fill the limited-term positions and is looking to hire VCRs with previous veterans’ benefits claims processing experience. The USDVA will provide office space, computers, phones and other equipment for the Strike Teams which will work under the supervision of CalVet regional office staff.

The Governor’s Budget also includes a one-time augmentation of $3 million in support of California’s network of 56 County Veterans Service Offices (CVSO). Working closely with CalVet, the mission of the CVSOs is to connect veterans and their families with the state and federal benefits and the local services available to them.

“The CVSOs have proved time and time again that they are affective advocates for California Veterans and this budget recognizes their hard work and provides them with the additional resources they need to better serve our veterans,” said Secretary Gravett.

In other areas, the budget provides for a General Fund loan of up to $1.5 million for the preliminary plans and working drawings for the California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery. The cemetery will be built on the grounds of the former Fort Ord U.S. Army post located on Monterey Bay.

The Budget also provides funding that will allow the Veterans Home of California, West Los Angeles to convert 84 beds from skilled nursing level of care to independent living, thus allowing the department to serve a broader population of veterans. Funding is also included for the Veterans Homes of California in Fresno and Redding, which will allow CalVet to begin admitting residents in the Fall of this year.

Additional details of the Budget may be found in the attached Governor’s Office news release or by following this link: