Veterans of the United States Armed Forces may be eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the State of Iowa.
Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs
The nine-member Governor-appointed commission meets at least quarterly. Their duties include advising and making recommendations to the Iowa Department of VA (IDVA), the general assembly and the governor concerning issues that impact Veterans in the state, as well as supervising the commandment’s administration of the Iowa Veterans Home.
Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA)
Duties include maintaining and disseminating information to Veterans and their dependents regarding available benefits, maintaining information concerning military service records, grave records and war bonuses, overseeing the operation of the Iowa Veterans Cemetery, and assisting and training
County Veteran Service Officers (CVSO).
Contact Information for IDVA
7105 NW 70th Avenue
Camp Dodge, Building 3465
Johnston, IA 50131-1824
Phone: 515-252-4698 or Toll free: 800-838-4692
County Veteran Service Officers (CVSO)
All counties are required to maintain a VA office with staff trained to assist with applications for federal VA benefits, including compensation/pension, health care, etc. Many benefits and services are also available for survivors and dependents. Some counties may have funds to assist with emergency living expenses. Please visit http://va.iowa.gov/.
History of County Veteran Assistance
County relief assistance for Iowa Veterans was established through the effort of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1874. The assistance program was established to give the Veteran a special consideration so that they should never be in want. In 1927, the Commission was called the Iowa Bonus Board, funded with money that was appropriated by a 50% refund agreement between the Bonus Board and individual counties. The demand for relief grew steadily in the 1930’s. Demand grew until the Bonus Board’s funds were depleted in 1970.
Through the efforts of the Bonus Board, the Iowa State Associate was organized in 1937. The State Associations purpose was “to create a uniform system of administering relief to Veterans…to promote changes in chapter Iowa Code 250 (now known as Chapter 35B) to protect the rights of Veterans’ preference and to make it possible to get adequate aid for those Veterans who through no fault of their own are forced to apply for relief”. The Iowa State Association of County Commissioners of Veterans Affairs has been in operation for over 70 years. Palo Alto County is an active member of the association. Palo Alto County has a 3 member Commission, appointed by the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors.
The Palo Alto County Commission of Veteran Affairs
Effective July 1, 2009 Senate File 2134 clarifies and broadens the scope of the County Commission of Veteran Affairsby mandating the following:
- Each county shall establish a Veteran Affairs office
- Each county shall employ an Executive Director/Administrator
- Each county Director/Administrator and staff shall be trained by NACVSO
- Each county office shall post hours open to the Veteran and the Public
- Each county shall provide service work for the Veteran/Dependent
The Palo Alto County Commission of Veteran Affairs is a NEEDS based program.
The Commission has a NACVSO trained Director and commissioners administering the Commissions policy. The office is located on the basement floor of the Courthouse building at 1010 Broadway, Emmetsburg, IA 50536. The phone number is 712-852-2066. The office is open between 8:00am and 12:00pm Monday through Friday. If any member of the public has any questions or concerns about Veteran benefits please do not hesitate to call.
There are approximately one thousand Veterans in Palo Alto County. Included in this number are the Marines, Navy, Army, Air Force, National Guard, Reservists, Merchant Marines, and Coast Guard. All Honorably discharged Veterans/Dependents can apply to determine eligibility.