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Florida Vets Not Seeking Benefits

July 3rd, 2018 by Mike Vasilinda
Tens of millions of dollars in benefits for Florida veterans are going unclaimed because the vets either don’t know they are eligible, or have had a bad experience with the troubled Veterans Administration, but the state is stepping up efforts to get vets to claim what’s rightfully theirs.
Larry Ware was born on the fourth of July.
“I had a traumatic brain injury and I was in a coma for six months,” said Ware.
Larry spends most days at an adult day care center, paid for almost entirely by the Federal government.
“Before I came, I was sitting home, taking my meds. Going to sleep. Sitting in the chair, talking to the TV,” said Ware.
Unlike Larry, one in three vets in Florida aren’t claiming their benefits.
The result is a lot of open slots in this adult day care and others.
Sot: Norman Pasley with Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare says of 35 openings for veterans at the facility, only 8 are occupied.
Now the state is launching a program to get more vets using what is already theirs
“We keep them healthier and if we keep them in their home environment which is very suportive, I mean they are comfortable in a home environment, and that’s what we really want to do,” said Col. Glen Sutphin, Executive Director of the State Department of Veterans Affairs.
The state says the good thing about veterans claiming their benefits is that it brings money into the state economy, but it doesn’t cost the state a cent.
85-year-old Henry Barnes Jr. spends 5 days a week at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare. He says if he was’t there, he’d be doing his honey do list for his wife of more than 60 years.
“You know how it is..are you married?” Barnes joked.
Any money the state saves by not taking care of vets like Larry and Henry, is money it can use helping other families who aren’t entitled to veterans benefits.
The state’s message to veterans: You are NOT alone! If you need help, call the Florida Veterans support line at 1-844-MyFLVet or 2-1-1.

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