The impact of veterans’ benefits

Published 11:33 am Friday, January 23, 2009

We sincerely appreciate your personal interest in Georgia’s veterans and their dependents. It is my honor and distinct pleasure to inform you of the activities of this office for the year 2008.

My office is located at 307 E. Broughton St., Bainbridge, GA 39817, and my telephone number is (229) 248-2599. I am a retired Army veteran with 20 years of service.

Terrie L. Hurst is the veterans benefits counselor. Mrs. Hurst, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, continues to faithfully serve our great state and the veterans of our area, which total 5,436.

The mission of our Department is to inform veterans and their dependents of all benefits authorized by federal and state laws, as well as to assist them in filing applications and/or claims for benefits. Our department provides free representation and advice to beneficiaries regarding all state and federal veterans’ benefits. The necessity for personal assistance to eligible beneficiaries filing and pursuing claims with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs results from the legal principle that no veterans’ benefits are awarded automatically. All benefits to which a veteran may be entitled must be applied for!

Due to the professional efforts of our department, many of these veterans, their dependents and survivors receive monetary benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. They, however, are not the only ones that benefit from our professional efforts because most of the monies received are spent within the local communities. Our specific areas of responsibilities are Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Decatur, Early, Quitman, Randolph and Seminole counties.

In fiscal year 2007, the Bainbridge division had 9,963 contacts and 5,471 claims.

Per the most recent data (fiscal year 2007) provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately $12,660,000 (from various veterans benefits) come into our division counties. Obviously, local economies have been enhanced by these monies.

In Decatur County, there were 2,076 veterans as of fiscal year 2007. During that year, $4,367,000 was spent on veterans living in Decatur County. Expenditures include compensation and pension; education and vocational rehabilitation; insurance and indemnities; general operating expenses and medical care.

Your confidence and support of this office and the Georgia Department of Veterans Service is sincerely appreciated. Please be assured of our desire to be of continuing service to you as we fulfill our mission of serving our Georgia veterans, their dependents and survivors.

Sincerely,Craig S. CouturierDivision Manager