RD635 - Virginia Department of Veterans Services Commissioner’s 2019 Annual Report – December 2, 2019

Executive Summary:

Please find enclosed the Department of Veterans Services’ Commissioner’s FY2019 Annual Report to the Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, the Governor, and the General Assembly.

What I hope will come through in the report is the pride and the devotion that every member of the DVS team brings to serving the approximately 715,000 veterans, and their families, who call the Commonwealth home. They have served us, now we must continue to serve them. We could not have achieved all that we have without the General Assembly’s unwavering support, trust, and continued commitment to providing the tools and the resources we need to accomplish the mission.

From July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019, the members of your DVS team:

• Filed 79,876 total submissions to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on behalf of Virginia veterans and families, contributing to $3.2B in federal compensation and disability payments to our veterans;

• Opened two new offices to better serve veterans closer to their homes: on Fort Lee and just outside NAS Oceana, bringing the total number of offices to 33. Office 34 – on Fort Belvoir – opened in October 2019;

• Worked with partners statewide to assist 950 homeless veterans and their families with obtaining secure housing and 292 veterans with receiving financial assistance;

• Enabled Virginia veterans to receive more than $800M in G.I. Bill benefits;

• Performed 1,915 burials at the state veterans cemeteries in Amelia, Dublin, and Suffolk;

• Hosted 41,134 visitors at the Virginia War Memorial;

• Had over 79,000 contacts with transitioning service members and spouses through outreach conducted by Virginia Transition Assistance Program; and

• Helped 30 highly-qualified former medics and corpsmen secure high-demand healthcare positions.

We greatly appreciate the many legislators who held special Veterans Town Hall meetings in conjunction with Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins and DVS. These prove vital “boots on the ground" forums for reaching Veterans and family members across the Commonwealth, and DVS looks forward to supporting even more Town Halls in FY2020.

Again, I thank you for your unwavering support for DVS as we work to ensure that Virginia is the most veteran-friendly state in the Nation.

I stand ready to address any questions you may have regarding the report.


/s/ Steven J. Combs
Acting Commissioner