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Published: Tuesday, 9/3/2013

Study: Veterans services vary by county in Ohio

Local control defended as responsive

ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBUS — Despite offering one of the most comprehensive benefit packages to veterans nationwide, Ohio’s county-based structure for funding the agencies tasked with assisting veterans creates vast disparities between urban and rural areas, a new state commissioned report has found.

Following the study’s release Friday, the spokesman for the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, Mike McKinney, defended the funding system, saying that it allows each county to make decisions based on its needs.

He said it is premature to say whether any changes will be implemented as a result of the study’s findings.

Mr. McKinney said the state commissioned the $98,000 study with the purpose of identifying “nationwide best practices” in assisting those who have served.

The report, conducted by a private consulting firm, does not propose specific improvements or restructuring. Instead, it examines Ohio’s veterans services and compares them with “successful models” used by other states.

In Ohio, each of the 88 counties has an agency responsible for giving financial assistance to veterans. The Veterans Service Commissions help veterans with paying bills, filling out federal benefits forms or arranging transportation to and from doctor’s appointments.


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