The Collin County Veterans Services in Plano offers assitance to veterans in need, providing several services for military veterans. Collin County Veterans Service officer Gary Jackson said that even though the office does not have many employees, the organization still has much to offer.
“Our office has two officers which include myself and John Thompson,” Jackson said. “We also have an Assistant Service Officer, Leslie Perron.”
“We aid with obtaining various state and federal benefits for veterans and their dependents,” Jackson said. “Some of the benefits include Service Connected Disability Compensation, Non-Service Connected Pension, Survivors Benefits, Education Benefits, VA Home Loan Programs, Access to Veterans Health Administration and others. We also help with obtaining copies of discharge papers (DD214) and various records and awards.”
Jackson has been with the organization for six years and said they see quite a bit of veterans in the area. “Collin County has approximately 45,000 veterans — estimates as of Sept. 30, 2016 by the VA Predictive Analytics and Actuary Service — and our office has seen approximately 4,300 veterans this year,” he said. This number does not include phone calls or emails.
Even though the organization is named for Collin County, they are not focused on the county only. “We will see veterans from anywhere,” Jackson said. “However, most major counties in Texas have a Veterans Service Office that can assist veterans and their dependents.”
Jackson said he hopes veterans will make use of the services provided. “We strongly recommend that veterans make use of the services we provide,” Jackson said. “Our expertise can help you avoid delays that missing paperwork or improperly filled out claim forms can cause.”
The organization is a champion for veterans, Jackson said. “We are not part of the Veterans Administration nor funded by them,” Jackson said. “We act as the veteran’s advocate. We are all county employees and I am accredited by the Texas Veterans Commission, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers to work with veterans. If you work with veterans, you must be certified or accredited through a Veterans Service Organization.”
All three of the employees at the Collin County Veterans Services are accredited by the Texas Veterans Commission, Jackson said.
Jackson said the organization is a crucial asset for veterans. “Collin County Veteran Services helps bridge the gap between the veteran and the Veterans Administration.”
To find a veteran’s service in a specific area, visit http://law.onecle.com/texas/government/434.032.html.