Bill Hessler LtCol, USMC (Ret)
Veterans Service Officer
About this Office
Mission Statement - To support all Otoe County veterans and their families. To assist veterans and their families in obtaining the local, state and federal benefits they are entitled to under law. Spotlight the accomplishments of Otoe County veterans in service and in the community. The Veterans' Service Officer serves under the direction of the Veterans' Service Committee appointed by the Board of Commissioners. Veterans' Services involve:
- Providing assistance and counseling to veterans and their families.
- Initiating and completing claims to be submitted to the VA Regional Office, Nebraska Department of Veterans' Affairs, or other appropriate agencies with accuracy and professionalism.
- Maintaining the highest level of training and education to best serve veterans.
- Serving as a trusted and respected partner in collaboration with other agencies when assisting veterans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it too late to file a VA service-connected disability claim?
Veterans, it's never too late to file a VA service-connected disability claim no matter how many years have passed since your military service. Please call our office to set up an appointment.
Prior to submitting your claim you will need to provide the following:
- Original Discharge documents (member copy 4 showing character of service)
- Dependent information (full names, social security numbers, birth date and location)
- Proof of Marriage if applicable
- Birth certificates for dependents under age 23 still enrolled in education (high school or college)
- Contact information for doctors seen outside the military or VA for care related to condition you are claiming
- Direct Deposit information (Bank account number and routing number)
- Any additional information you feel relevant
How will the VA Backlog affect my claim?
In the state of Nebraska we are fortunate to have a VA Regional Office who maintains a harmonious working relationship with our County Veterans Service Officers and are able to assist the veterans on a more personal level. That being said, there are still legal requirements when processing a claim. Our role is to assist you in providing all documentation and evidence as complete as possible to the VA so that a claim can be processed in a timely manner with the best outcome possible. In certain instances there are matters which require additional time to develop the claim prior to completion. Examples include; early era veterans documents related to the fire in St. Louis which destroyed thousands of veterans service information, medical opinion from VA doctor, or clarification of a condition. In any case, continue to work with our office as the claims process continues.
How can I find out the status of my claim?
The VA has created a website called E-Benefits which you can create a profile and follow the path of your claim. In addition to status information you can research a variety of topics including veterans preference letters, records, print forms and receive letters showing your entitlements. Follow this link to sign up today. https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits-portal/ebenefits.portal
Services of this Office
The Otoe County Veterans' Service Office assists with, but is not limited to the following County, State and Federal Benefits:
County Veterans' Benefits
- County Veterans' Aid Fund (CVA). To meet immediate emergency financial needs.
- Flag Holders. For placement on the grave of every veteran buried in Otoe County.
State Veterans' Benefits
- Nebraska Veterans' Aid Fund (NVA). For unforeseen emergency financial need.
- Waiver of Tuition. For state college/university cost to qualified spouses or children.
- Discharges. Replacement of lost military service records (DD-214).
- Grave Registration. Report of grave location for veterans buried in the State.
- Veterans' Home System. Complete application for residency in a Veterans' Home.
Federal Veterans' Benefits
- Service Connected Disability Compensation.
- Non-Service Connected Pensions. Veterans or Widow(er)s.
- Education and Vocational Rehabilitation. Including GI Bill and disability retraining.
- Life Insurance. VGLI/NSLI or Disability.
- Burial Benefits. Grave marker application and burial allowance assistance.
- VA Home Loan Programs. Residential and improvement for handicap improvement.
- Health Care. VA Medical Center inpatient and outpatient services.
- Long Term Nursing Home Care. For veterans rated at 70% or higher.
- Military Records. Discharge upgrades and location or service and medical records.