On October 20, the U.S. House Committee on Veterans' Affairs (HVAC) Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (DAMA) held a hearing on pending legislation including the bipartisan Commitment to Veteran Support and Outreach (CVSO) Act (H.R. 4601). Counties support this bill, which would authorize the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide federal resources for states to expand or strengthen County Veteran Service Officers (CVSOs) to improve their outreach and assistance to veterans.
In 29 states, CVSOs play a key role in helping veterans access a range of service-connected federal benefits, including but not limited to education eligibility and benefits, VA health care eligibility and assistance, mental health resources, financial support and housing resources. While CVSOs are highly effective at generating billions of dollars in VA claims, these officers are currently funded almost entirely by counties, which creates challenges for areas with high demand or counties that serve veterans in rural areas. Local resource constraints can significantly hinder the ability of county governments to expand our CVSOs staff and services to sufficiently meet rising caseloads, resulting in long waiting lists that compound ongoing backlog issues at the VA. The CVSO Act would address these resource shortfalls by providing $250 million over five years in competitive grants to states to strengthen and expand this critical county workforce.
NACo sent a letter to the DAMA Subcommittee leadership thanking them for considering this important legislation and urging passage of the bill. County officials interested in supporting the CVSO Act can send letters of support to Members of Congress using this advocacy template. NACo will continue to monitor the legislation and its progress.
- NACo Letter of Support
- NACo Policy Brief: Authorize Resources for County Veteran Service Officers
- NACo Blog: Congress reintroduces bipartisan legislation supporting county veterans service officers
- CVSO Act Fact Sheet
- CVSO Act Letter of Support Template