Veterans Affairs

48 Veterans Day 2017 at Murray Nelson LR

Monroe County Veterans Affairs serves approximately 7,000 to 8,000 full-time resident veterans in the Florida Keys and approximately 2,000 to 2,500 seasonal veterans and active-duty military service members. Monroe County veterans are entitled to a wide range of benefits as a result of their service to the country. Recognizing that veterans do not receive benefits without first applying to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Monroe County Commissioners established the Monroe County Veterans Affairs department to assist veterans and service members in preparing such applications. 

SERVICES

Monroe County Veterans Affairs has two offices in the Keys, one in Key West and one in Key Largo. Both offices help active-duty personnel and military retirees, as well as veterans and their families, obtain federal benefits.

These benefits include:

  • Burial allowances and widows’ benefits
  • Compensation for service-related disability and for not service-connected pension
  • Educational benefits
  • Home loans
  • Insurance claims and Social Security appeals
  • Outpatient treatment and hospitalization
  • Transportation to the Miami VA Medical Center

The department also provides assistance in obtaining state benefits, such as free car tags and fishing licenses, for those who are 100-percent service-connected.

NEWS: Federal Court Decision Helps “Blue Water” Vietnam Navy Veterans With Benefits Related To Agent Orange

The Monroe County Veterans Affairs Department is reaching out to Vietnam Navy Veterans to inform them of a recent federal court decision that could lead to collecting previously denied benefits related to Agent Orange exposure.

The opinion in Procopio vs. Wilkie eliminates the distinction between Vietnam War Veterans who served on land and those who served on a ship in territorial waters from January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975 in relation to the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange. The court defined the phrase “served in the Republic of Vietnam” to now include service in its territorial waters.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes the following diseases as related to Agent Orange: Chronic B-cell Leukemia, Hodgkin’s Disease, Multiple Myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Prostate Cancer, Respiratory Cancers, and Soft Tissue Sarcomas. Other illnesses believed to be caused by contact with Agent Orange: AL Amyloidosis, Chloracne Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, Ischemic Heart Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Peripheral Neuropathy-Early Onset, and Porphyria Cutanea Tarda. To see the list of ships currently identified by the United States Department of Veterans as having contact with Agent Orange, go to www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/agent-orange/navy-coast-guard-ships-vietnam/.

If you are a Vietnam War Veteran and were previously denied benefits and are currently diagnosed with an Agent Orange-related disease, contact Monroe County Veterans Affairs office for additional information.

Surviving spouses of Vietnam Veterans previously denied or who never filed a claim for an Agent Orange-related disease are also encouraged to file for the tax-free monetary Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefit paid to eligible survivors of military service members who died in the line of duty or whose death was a result of a service-related injury or disease by contacting the Veterans Affairs offices.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Monroe County Veterans Affairs department is to enhance the quality of life for veterans, survivors, dependents, and family members by assisting them in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for benefits and entitlements from federal, state, and local levels of government while advocating for veteran's interests in the community.

The department strives to assure quality control through strict compliance of all laws and regulations governing the administration of veterans benefits and to effectively operate and maintain the transportation system from the Florida Keys to the Miami VA Medical Center through coordination and cooperation with the VA.

Code of Client Concern

The Monroe County Veterans Affairs Department (MCVAD) is committed to providing the highest quality service to its clients. In order to achieve this goal, the dedication of each employee to the principles outlined in this code is essential. With a comprehensive knowledge of existing Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) laws and regulations, and the willingness of all MCVAD personnel to assist our clients, we will be able to provide the kind of service to which we are committed. To that end: 

  • Each client must be afforded dignity as an individual and be treated with compassion and respect.
  • Clients will be counseled fully and informed of any DV A program or benefit that may be available to them or their families.
  • All employees shall in no way interfere with or prevent the filing of a claim, as all persons have the "right" to file, valid or not.
  • All employees will protect every claimant as to "effective date" of the claim, wherever possible. This includes advising the claimant of any inadequacies which may cause a delayed effective date.
  • All employees will keep confidential all records and communications pertaining to the client's case.

For More Information

For more information, view the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs' Frequently Asked Questions.