Welcome to 2019, made it so far. This column will be just a mix of information and thoughts. First on everyone’s mind is will the VA services be disrupted by the shutdown? Answer is no, fiscal year 2019 is fully funded.

Start the year right and ensure your paperwork is in order and you know where it is. If you are a veteran you should have your documentation, including discharge and VA home loan guarantee certificate of eligibility. You can never tell when you may need these and it is easier to request now than when time is a crunch.

If you are a veteran of Vietnam and have been diagnosed with hypertension, we need to open or reopen a claim for compensation. If you are a Vietnam veteran with diabetes, check with your doctor about kidney damage. If present, give me a call and we can open a claim.

The last week of January also sees the return of the “Point In Time” survey of the Big Bend area homeless population. This survey will be used to help determine needs in the community. Veterans who are homeless have options open to them. Contact this office for assistance. For more information on the survey contact Johnna Coleman at (850) 631-1647.

Charles B. Elliott is the veterans service officer for Franklin County. He can be reached at 653-8096, by cellphone at 653-7051, or by email to Veteranservice@franklincountyflorida.com