Minnesota is home to almost 400,000 military veterans, and over 62,000 reside in Hennepin County alone. As one of the largest population centers for vets in the state, Minneapolis has a number of local, state, and national programs who provide veterans with benefits. Programs include housing assistance, health care, counseling, and tax assistance as well as community-based programs like social groups and organizations, organized fitness, and educational workshops. Let’s discuss a few of the prominent resources in the Minneapolis area and how veterans, surviving spouses, and their families can access their benefits.
The Minneapolis VA Healthcare System is the provider in the area for health care to military veterans. Services include primary, mental, cardiac and women’s care and are offered by appointment and in emergency care situations. The center also offers educational programming like stress-management and caregiver workshops throughout the month. Located in the city at One Veterans Drive, the facility has easy interstate access and partnerships with local van services for vets in need of transportation assistance.
The St. Paul Regional Benefits center is the area contact for Minneapolis vets and their surviving spouses for assistance with benefits. Office staff are available to assist with applying for and accessing benefits and checking a claim status or filing a dispute. They can also provide information on housing, home loans, and offer resources to vets during a time of crisis like in the event of homelessness.
The Hennepin County Veterans Service department is one additional resource that provides help in the area. You’ll find information on medical care, mental health resources, emergency assistance, and burial assistance programs on their website.
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs in St. Paul is the state administrator of the programs available to veterans and their families. They are also responsible for running the 5 veterans homes in the state. Veterans in need of assistance should start by contacting their county veteran’s service office for help with benefits, claims, and referral services. Minneapolis branches of organizations who serve vets nationally
Veterans of Foreign Wars has a large presence throughout Minneapolis, with 13 branches located within 5 miles of the city. Each branch has an on-site Service Officer available to members, surviving spouses, and dependents, who can assist with applying for benefits and helping file a claim with the VA. The Service Officer is empowered to advocate directly on your behalf, and can file, research and appeal claims at no cost to you.
The VFW also offers ways to socialize and meet other community veterans. Through weekly and monthly programs like karaoke nights, barbecues, picnics, and game nights you can get to know other vets in your neighborhood. Depression and PTSD are conditions that military veterans, especially men, may develop at some point in their life. The local chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill can provide resources, support groups, and assistance to vets in need. For urgent help when dealing with suicidal thoughts, call the suicide prevention hotline to speak confidently with a counselor who understands at 1-800-273-8255.
Veterans Day is an important holiday throughout the Twin Cities, and each year various civic organizations hold memorials, parades, barbecues, and gatherings in honor of the holiday. For events near you, check your local newspaper or visit the events listing at the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs website.
For more information on the Aid & Attendance Benefit and to learn how it can help pay for assisted living, please visit VeteranAid.org.
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