New veteran resource guide available in Virginia


ABINGDON, Va. - Virginia military and service veterans need to know their legal protections and rights. That is according to Virginia's Attorney General. Mark Herring is now taking charge of issuing new veterans' guides with lots of information and resources to help. Virginia is home to 750,000 veterans, the Pentagon, and the world's largest navy base. The state's attorney general says he wants to make sure this group is supported. "We really want to do everything we can for them because they've done so much for us," Herring said. The Office of the Attorney General has a new legal resource guide for those who are currently serving or have served. "For example, it informs them about important rights they might have under various federal statutes, that there are caps on certain types of loans they might take out, Herring explained. If they're a military service member who is on deployment, their home cannot be foreclosed on or car repossessed." The new resource guide is available to veterans and their families across the state. That is in addition to help from the state Department of Veterans Services where veterans like Nick Albanese and Kristi Holt are standing by to help. "I can tell you when I came back from the military and filed my own claim, I did not know what the heck I was doing. I was just submitting documents every which way," Nick Albanese, a veteran service representative, said. The Abingdon office helps around 200-300 veterans a month with the likes of medical, disability and pension claims. The office also connects them to the Virginia Veteran and Family Support Program for resources related to mental health and rehabilitation services. "We deal a lot with homeless veterans, so if a veteran comes to us and needs assistance in trying to get into a shelter or needing permanent supportive housing, then we can get them connected with resources in the community, but also sometimes assist with financial assistance as well," senior resource specialist Kristi Holt said. Officials say most seeking assistance in our area are Vietnam and Korean-era vets.