Many cities and states across the country are now doing more to make sure veterans are getting the attention and military benefits they both need and deserve. However, the efforts being made in Rhode Island do not go far enough for the tastes of many veterans living there.
As a consequence, the state government is now close to hiring someone to oversee veteran affairs, and that job will likely have a concentration on outreach, especially when it relates to veterans benefits, according to a report from the Associated Press. Neighboring Massachusetts and Connecticut both have multiple state officials whose work is focused in this area, so Rhode Island has plenty of catching up to do.
This lack of centralized help in the state seems to be related to a widespread problem many veterans run into: Even if they are eligible for certain benefits, they may not know about it, the report said. To that end, the state is actually looking to hire two caseworkers with salaries of about $56,000 each, specifically to deal with this issue. Those positions have been budgeted since 2014, but other things related to the jobs weren't approved until last July. The director's position has likewise been unfilled since it was funded last year.
''[Veterans] just don't know what's available to them,'' David Smith, commander of the Disabled American Veterans of Rhode Island, told the news organization. ''And I don't know if all the veterans' groups know all the information.''
Veterans who aren't receiving benefits, or who believe they're not receiving as much as they should, may want to reach out to organizations both public and private to determine whether they're due any assistance in this regard. Those benefits can go a long way toward helping them in their everyday lives.