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A multitude of help is out there, available to veterans

Greg Remus

By Greg Remus / For the Enterprise

Are you a veteran or a dependent of a veteran and need eyeglasses or dental work, yet can’t afford it? Are you temporarily disabled and having a hard time meeting your financial obligations? There may be help.

State Soldiers Assistance Program (SSAP) Subsistence, Dental & Optical

The Minnesota Department of Veteran’s Affairs (MDVA) provides subsistence, dental and optical assistance to veterans and their dependents (spouse/children) based upon income and need.

What Is Covered?

n Subsistence: The Subsistence program provides temporary assistance with shelter payments (rent/mortgage), current utility bills and health insurance premiums to eligible veterans and their dependents. This benefit is income and asset based, and is designed to assist veterans for up to six months for those who are unable to work his/her normal occupation due to a temporary disability, or who are permanently disabled and are waiting to receive a permanent disability benefit from VA Compensation, VA Pension, Social Security or other long term benefit. Veterans must provide proof of the temporary disability by his/her doctor on a medical report, and must have worked within one year of the date on the medical report. Surviving spouses may also be eligible for this benefit without a temporary disability if he/she applies within the first 12 months of his/her veteran spouse’s death. After that time limit the surviving spouse must provide proof of his/her own temporary disability via a medical report.

n Dental: Dental benefits are provided to veterans and their dependents for routine dental, extraction, and denture procedures. This benefit is income and asset based, and upon MDVA approval of eligibility you and your dependents may receive up to $1,000 for annual routine dental care paid to your choice of providers. If your dental provider determines that dentures are necessary, MDVA will issue an additional denture authorization for up to $3,000 of once-per-lifetime benefits, and if needed, an additional once-per-lifetime extraction authorization for up to $2,000 specifically for tooth extractions in preparation for the dentures.

n Optical: Optical benefits are provided on an annual basis to Veterans and their dependents. This benefit is income and asset-based, and upon approval of eligibility you and your dependents may receive up to $400 paid to your choice of providers for annual eye exams and prescription eyewear, to include contact lenses.

Who is Eligible?

Veterans and their dependents (spouse/children), provided the income/assets do not exceed the maximum allowed. Veterans must have had 180 consecutive days of active duty to qualify as a veteran for this program (or be in receipt of VA compensation), and must be a Minnesota resident.

n Single veteran or widow: Income less than $1,733 per month (from ALL sources) and bank assets less than $3000.

n Married couple: Total combined income less than $2,054 per month (all income for BOTH the veteran and the spouse) and bank assets less than $5,000. If both the veteran and spouse apply, they would EACH have the applicable (dental or optical) allotment to use.

How do I apply?

Contact Greg Remus or Karen Van De Venter at the Hubbard County Veteran Service Officer for assistance in completing an SSAP Application, MDVA-1.

As always the purpose of the Hubbard County Veteran Service Office is to provide assistance and support to eligible veterans, their dependents and survivors in obtaining benefits through the State and Federal Departments of Veterans Affairs, and to provide benefit counseling, claims service, referral and assistance in a variety of other programs.

You can contact me at the Hubbard County Veteran Service Office at 201 Fair Ave, Park Rapids, 732-3561. Have a great day! I will be in Laporte at the Lakeport Town Hall from 9 a.m.-noon and at the ARCC in Akeley from 1-3 p.m. every third Thursday of each month.