SACRAMENTO – Leading California veterans’ organization are calling on Governor Newsom to reopen the state’s veterans’ posts and halls that have been closed since March due to the pandemic. In a letter sent to the Governor last week, members of the California State Commanders Veterans Council (CSCVC) highlighted the important role these posts serve in connecting veterans to essential services and benefits such as healthcare, mental health services, education, and job training.
Despite providing these essential services to veterans, veterans posts are still not eligible to open because they are classified as bars. The CSCVC believes that veterans’ posts have been mistakenly categorized as bars under California’s reopening guidelines due to the fact many of the posts hold a restrictive, membership-only veterans’ liquor license. This classification puts veterans’ posts at the back of the line for reopening, and puts access to services further out of reach for many veterans.
"California’s veterans’ posts play a critical role in connecting our state’s veterans with the benefits and services they need. They also aid homeless veterans, connect veterans dealing with depression and PTSD to counseling, and provide meals for disabled and homebound veterans. The closure of our posts has had a direct and negative impact on the ability of veterans’ service officers to help our veterans,” said Ed Grimsley, State Commander, American Legion, Dept. of California.
Veterans’ posts provide a necessary support structure for California veterans. Posts have trained veterans service officers who help veterans navigate and apply for benefits they are entitled to due to their service to our county. These service officers provide assistance to veterans and their dependents in preparing and submitting claims for benefits such as health care and mental health services; education, job training and retirement benefits to name a few. Since the posts have been shutdown, there has been a decrease in claims for veteran disability and pension benefits.
"From March to September, the VFW Service Department saw a drop of over 850 veterans’ claims – a decrease of $2.2 million owned to veterans and their families for their service. Our posts are not halls with bars, but rather hubs within our communities providing a wide range of essential programs and services to help veterans of every generation. Posts’ closures have had devastating impacts on our ability to provide vital assistance to veterans, especially in rural and smaller communities,” said John G. Lowe, State Commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of California.
Reopening posts safely will restore access to essential services upon which California veterans and their families rely. CSCVC is requesting that posts be allowed to reopen so long as they comply with ABC and county health restrictions, regardless of the status of the counties in which they are located.
"We recognize and appreciate the hard work the Governor has done to lead us during this unprecedented health crisis. At the same time, we believe our posts provide essential services and were not intended to be categorized in the executive order the same as bars. Our organizations are ready and willing to work with the Governor on a plan to safely reopen our posts for veterans soon,” said David Black, State Commander, AMVETS, Dept. of California.
About the California State Commanders Veterans Council (CSCVC):Founded in 1966, the California State Commanders Veterans Council is recognized in state law as the collective voice for California’s major veterans service organizations. CSCVC supports veterans through advocacy efforts aimed at enhancing the rights, benefits, and well-being of California’s 1.6 million veterans and their dependents.
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CHANGES TO POST NEWSLETTER
Due to the extremely high cost of postage we can no longer to mail the Post Newsletters to each member. Therefore, effective July 2020 the Post will place the current newsletter on our new Webpage, VFW9650.org for review. A limited number of Newsletters will be made available at the Post for those members who do not have access to a computer.
The VFW is keeping up the fight FOR VETERANS in 2020.
Thank you for all you do to support America's defenders. We simply could not help them transition to civilian life, continue their education, and file their VA claims with the expert assistance of VFW Service Officers without you.
Thank you, Gregory.
We want you to know what a difference you make for veterans of every generation. Your support of the VFW:
- Helped veterans receive more than $9 billion in earned benefit payments from the VA, which includes $1.6 billion in benefits paid to veterans in fiscal year 2019.
- Helped us administer over $5 million in financial assistance grants for military families in financial straits (since 2004).
- Awarded over $7.2 million through the VFW's "Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship" to help more than 1,606 veterans and service members continue their education (since January 2014).
You can see even more ways your contributions help veterans on our VFW Fact Sheet.
Your unwavering respect for the men and women who defend our freedom is very much appreciated. We’re honored to work side-by-side with you to protect veterans’ rights throughout 2020 and beyond.
Our programs support our service members while they are on the front line, as they are being discharged and long after they return. Your tax-deductible donation will be immediately directed to the VFW programs where your support is most urgently needed.