The New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs was created in 1945 as part of the Executive Department with the task of assisting World War II service men and women with readjustment from the military to the civilian life.
Our mission is to provide quality service, advocacy, and counseling in a timely manner for New York’s Veterans and their families to ensure they receive benefits granted by law for service in the Armed Forces.
The heart of the State’s veterans’ program is the Division’s free counseling service. Experienced and dedicated counselors — each a veteran — in a network of field offices across the state offer veterans professional help to resolve social, medical, and economic problems.
State Veteran Counselors assist the claimant — whether a veteran, spouse, child, or parent — in completing applications, obtaining necessary documentation, and filing for a broad spectrum of federal, State, local, and private veterans’ benefits. Counselors also assist claimants in responding to follow-up correspondence and, when necessary, appealing an unfavorable ruling.
By working closely with other State, federal, local, and private agencies, the Division of Veterans’ Affairs is able to utilize the expertise and resources of others in the community to help the veteran and his or her family with specific needs, such as economic, employment, rehabilitation, medical treatment, home health care, education, and tax exemption.
In its leadership role, the Division has a responsibility for planning and coordinating services within the community, and works closely with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other state agencies to accomplish this goal. The Division has strived to sensitize governmental and private agencies to the special problems and needs of veterans, particularly those men and women who served in combat and whose social, medical, and mental problems are often specifically rooted in war-time experiences.
The Division also administers a Blind Annuity program that provides a monthly stipend to more than 4,500 visually impaired veterans and eligible surviving spouses, a Gold Star Parent Annuity that authorizes an annuity payment to eligible parents of deceased Veterans, and oversees the Veterans Education Bureau, which investigates and certifies postsecondary educational and vocational institutions as providing legitimate and quality education for veterans seeking to utilize their federal education benefits to attend such facilities.
A toll-free information and referral hotline — 1-888-VETS-NYS (1-888-838-7697) — is available to refer veterans and their families to the nearest State Veteran Benefits Counseling Office.