Suffolk County has approved having a county veterans affairs specialist work out of Southampton Town offices, a move officials believe will provide better access to benefits and services for East End veterans, their spouses, dependents and survivors.
Both the Suffolk County Legislature and Southampton Town board unanimously passed the joint service agreement to station one of Suffolk’s veterans services officers in Southampton.
Veterans services to be provided by officers per the agreement include help in determining qualifications for federal benefits, assistance in preparing and submitting applications, help in tracking the status of applications, and answering questions about benefits.
Veterans groups have said that some services are underused by those on the East End because of the travel time to offices in Hauppauge or Riverhead.
The agreement is effective from Aug. 1 through July 31, 2016, with two one-year options. A start date for the officer has not been determined yet, town and county officials said.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Legis. Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) and Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst announced the agreement at a news conference last week.
“This initiative will help to provide services the veterans’ community needs and wants,” Bellone said in a statement.
The officer will rotate between Southampton Town Hall and various senior centers throughout the town.