A Message Celebrating American Independence Day and the Service of Our Veterans

As we celebrate Independence Day on July 4th, it is important to again draw attention to our Veterans of the Armed Forces and all they have done, and continue to do, to protect our nation and much of the world.  We remember the service and sacrifice on Memorial Day (May) and Veterans Day (November), and we want to continue to highlight resources available for Veterans and their families.

For starters, Erie County has a Veterans Service Agency[1] that originated in 1926 to do the following:

  • To ensure that every veteran in the county is registered in the VA System and is fully aware of all benefits that they have earned.
  • To make veterans an economic force in education, employment and business development.

If you know a Veteran that has not visited the office or registered in the County VA System, please encourage them to do so in the Erie County Rath Building, Suite 800 at 95 Franklin Street, downtown Buffalo.  Additionally, the Erie County Clerk’s office has created a Thank-a-Vet discount program and there is a full “PDF” available with participating businesses.  Veterans must register for the Discount Card with official discharge paperwork.   Additional information can be found on the County Clerk Thank-A-Vet website[2].

The last service we want to highlight involves employment resources for Veterans.  The NYS Department of Labor provides “Veterans Employment Representatives” including special designations for Disabled Veterans.  These designations do receive some preferential treatment for civil service employment and other government employment and training programs.  Be sure to identify yourself as a veteran, and ask for the “Local Veterans Employment Rep” (LVER) or the “Disabled Veterans Outreach Person” (DVOP). As a military veteran, you receive priority service at the NY State Department of Labor.  The two main local resources can be found here:

  • NYS Department of Labor — 284 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202 — 716-851-2635
  • Buffalo Employment & Training Center — 77 Goodell Street, Buffalo, NY 14203 — Contact: Colleen Cummings, Phone: 716-856-5627 – (ccummings@wdcinc.org)

Recently, at the beginning of June, the Buffalo News reported that the Buffalo VA Hospital [3]was cleared of the same wrongdoings that had plagued other VA systems across the country.  While that is good news, there are still other realities that can put stress on military families.  We have written before on this blog about the delays present in the Social Security Disability System, and the reality that over 90% of applications are initially rejected affects these families, too.  If an individual is also waiting to receive medical care in the VA system, the process can be emotionally stressful and financially draining.

Please continue to thank the Veterans in your community and join with other businesses and groups in supporting military families, however you may be able.  Ken Hiller has been working with Veterans and their families for over three decades because of his special expertise in the Social Security Disability arena.  Our office understands the special attention that Veterans deserve, and we have experience facilitating and connecting veterans to the benefits they are entitled to.  We are proud to be doing our small part as needed.  If we can be helpful to you or a Veteran you care for, contact us and tell us how we can help.



[1]  Veterans Service Agency (Erie County) — http://www2.erie.gov/veterans/

[3] Buffalo Office of the VA — http://www.buffalo.va.gov/

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