Nevada Budget Cuts Hit Veterans

Thursday, 15 Nov 2012 01:40 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Nevada budget cuts are hurting the state's ability to help veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan get the federal benefits they need, according to a report Thursday in the Las Vegas Sun.
Veterans are having to wait at least two months to see a state liaison officer for help in applying for benefits because of a personnel shortage caused by spending cutbacks, according to the newspaper.
Katherine Miller, deputy director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services told legislators recently that more than 100 veterans are on a waiting list to see a services officer, and the state is “unable to keep abreast of the needs of Nevada veterans and their families.”
Lawmakers last month approved the addition of two new personnel positions to lower the wait time, but they say those positions still won't feel the gap created by personnel cutbacks in earlier years.
The Legislature in 2011, for example,  approved Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval’s recommendation to eliminate two veterans services representatives and an administrative assistant position in the agency’s Las Vegas office. The agency’s budget was cut by 7 percent through this year.
Each state services officer brings in an average of $5.2 million in veterans benefits, the Sun reported. There are currently nine officers serving an estimated 300,000 veterans statewide.

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