SOUTH CAROLINA (WTOC) - The South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs is revamping how it operates.
“We are building a brand new department out of what was a division, that was mainly focused on the claims and benefits part. Appropriately,” Secretary Will Grimsley said.
The department is increasing its support of veterans as it expands its new department. They are providing more resources for veterans like bridge programs that help the transition from active duty to civilian life, while also connecting veterans with resources to fight poverty and keep them in their homes.
The secretary says right now one of their biggest challenges is moving veterans into the digital age. They say some people are still filing their claims in person or by faxing them in. They want people to use their website.
The new website was launched this week and allows veterans to find resources in their area. The secretary says the Lowcountry is the third largest group of veterans in the state, and finding a community is vital for veterans while COVID-19 is causing feelings of isolation.
The department is encouraging telehealth, mental support, and personal connections “We are implementing a program here in South Carolina to do more peer to peer, substance abuse, and suicide prevention counseling. So, we are trying to use technology and making outreach with that,” Grimsley said.
The secretary says out of the 405,000 veterans in South Carolina, the most important thing is remembering there is help available. He says the new department has resources for those who want to reach out.
“My message back to them is reach out to somebody. Talk to a friend, call the national hotline, come to our website, come to George’s website, go to the county. Come find someone. Because we have plenty of resources out there to help,” Grimsley said.