The Colorado Division of Veteran Affairs has a lot to offer those who have left active service. By working alongside federal and state departments, the Division of Veteran Affairs is able to give veterans access to assistance programs which enable them to integrate back into society and move forward. From employment assistance and outreach programs, to support with making compensation claims and rehabilitation services, there is a host of opportunities that veterans can make use of. Sourcing such assistance, understanding how these programs work, and knowing who is eligible is not necessarily straightforward. The information below is designed to highlight what support is out there, and to give veterans in Colorado a starting point from which to engage assistance programs. Not all veterans’ benefits are available for all applicants. Learning about the services before submitting an application is an important first step.
Representation for Veteran’s Compensation Claims in Colorado
Whether the veteran is interested in receiving compensation post service, pre-discharge from service or the veteran qualifies as having special circumstances, the process of carrying forward a disability compensation claim can be complex. For this reason, the eBenefits service, which allows veterans to process such claims, also provides the option of appointing a Veteran Service Officer to assist veterans with their case. For more information on obtaining a Veteran Service Officer, simply login to your eBenefits account. If you do not yet have one, simply register online. Alternatively, veterans can visit their nearest VA office to discuss processing the claim and receive assistance through the Veteran Service Officer program.
Community Veteran’s Advocacy and Outreach in Colorado
There are over 30 community-focused organizations across Colorado providing assistance programs for veterans and their families, and a further 40 offering advocacy and mental health services. With such a huge range of assistance programs available, there is sure to be something for all interests, circumstances and locations.
One of the programs is called the Horse Protection League in Arvada, which offers therapeutic equestrian activities for individuals, couples and families dealing with PTSD and other mental health issues. There is also Angels of America’s Fallen in Colorado Springs, which offers mentoring support to the children of those who have served. Meanwhile, there are nonprofits such as Family Tree in Wheat Ridge. Here veteran families who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or dealing with issues such as domestic violence or child abuse, have a safe space to work through such matters and seek to initiate changes.
Employment Assistance for Colorado Veterans
Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies, also known as DORA, supports veterans and their spouses with obtaining licenses and certifications based on military experience, thereby increasing their chances of finding long-term employment opportunities. Colorado’s Constitution dictates that veterans are given preference when state jobs become available. Please note that certain eligibility requirements do apply. In addition, there are several organizations which offer employment reintegration assistance to veterans throughout Colorado.
Educational Opportunities for Veterans in Colorado
Many of Colorado’s universities and community colleges accept funding from the GI bill for tuition. Specific guidelines as they pertain to each university must be obtained from the financial aid office prior to application to the university. Colorado offers money to veterans for furthering their education for a limited time, but generally covers a portion, or all, of the tuition for participating schools.
Colorado’s Operation Recognition
This program is provided by the Board of Veterans Affairs in collaboration with Colorado’s Education Department and Association of School Boards. It enables those veterans who served during Korea, Vietnam and World War II to receive accredited high school level diplomas by taking part in programs operated voluntarily in high schools across the state.
Colorado Veteran Nursing Homes
There are currently five dedicated centers for veterans in Colorado providing 24-hour nursing care for those who need it, at an all-inclusive rate. These state-owned facilities are located in Fitzimmons, Florence, Homelake, Rifle and Walsenberg. In addition to around-the-clock care, there are restorative therapies, meals and transport services. Alongside veterans themselves, these nursing homes are also available to spouses and the parents of fallen service members (also known as Gold Star Parents).
In addition to these state-owned, dedicated nursing homes, there are many organizations providing similar care in different locations which may provide subsidized care based on veteran status. This must be arranged through the VA office.
Veteran Replacement Medals and DD214 Forms
Should veteran medals become misplaced, or the DD214 form detailing the condition of discharge from the military become lost, veterans are entitled to replacement of said items at no additional cost. A spouse or family member may also make such requests, assuming they have written permission from the veteran in question.