Supporting Our Local Heroes
A Veterans Resource Page provided by Assemblymember Karen McMahon
As a member of the New York State Assembly, I am dedicated to providing support to the brave individuals who have honorably served our country. I am grateful for the contributions and sacrifices that our Veterans and their families have made and hope that my Veteran's page can be a valuable resource. Within this page you will find a multitude of links and contacts that will lead you to websites and organizations that have the information you need to find the services you require. I encourage Veterans to visit my Veteran's page often to keep you and your families up to date on various issues, news, and legislation to benefit the Veterans of our great state.
Counseling & Emotional Support
National & NY State
- National Suicide and Crisis Hotline Chat/Text/Phone: 998
- 24-Hour Text Line offered by Mental Health America: Text MHA to 741-741
- 24-Hour VA Nurses Helpline: 1 (800) 877-9676
- Veteran’s Peer Support Line (Vet2Vet): 1 (877) 838-2838
- National Call Center for Homeless Veterans: 1 (877) 424-3838
- NYS Office of Mental Health: 1 (844) 863-9314 • https://omh.ny.gov
- NYS Veterans Counselor: 1 (888) 838-7697 • https://veterans.ny.gov/content/about-new-york-state-division-veterans’-affairs
- NYS Problem Gambling & Chemical Dependency Hotline: 1 (877) 8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) for help and referrals to treatment
SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov
- Provides a confidential and anonymous source of information for persons seeking treatment facilities in the United States or U.S. Territories for substance use/addiction and/or mental health problems.
- Mental Health Advocates of WNY: 1 (716) 886-1242 • https://mhawny.org
- 24-Hour Crisis Hotline for Buffalo & Erie County: 1 (716) 834-3131
- Buffalo Vet Center (Readjustment Counseling): 24-Hour Call Center 1 (877) 927-8387 • Main Line 1 (716) 862-7350 • https://www.va.gov/buffalo-vet-center/
- Horizon Health Services: 1 (716) 831-1800 • https://www.horizon-health.org
- VA Western New York Health Care | Returning Service Member Care Coordinator, Rebecca Welch LCSW-R (Transition and Care Management [OEF/OIF/OND] Program Manager: 1 (716) 862-7452 • email: Rebecca.Welch4@va.gov
- Mental Health Association of Niagara County: http://mhanc.com • 1 (716) 433-3780
- Niagara County Help Line: 1 (716) 433-5432
- Niagara County Crisis Services: 1 (716) 285-3515
Employment & Education Information
- Federal Veterans Career & Employment Assistance: https://www.va.gov/careers-employment/
- US DOL Veterans' Employment and Training Service: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/vets
- Veteran Jobs: https://www.military.com/veteran-jobs
- NYS DOL Services for Veterans: https://dol.ny.gov/services-veterans • 1 (888) 469-7365 (ask for the Veterans Program) • email: email@example.com<
- NYS Veteran Employment: https://veterans.ny.gov/content/veteran-employment
- NYS Veterans with Disabilities Employment Program (55-c): https://www.cs.ny.gov/rp55/
- NYS Veterans Temporary Hiring Program: https://www.cs.ny.gov/vetportal/
- Erie County Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program Specialist, Evette Spencer: 1 (716) 851-2600 • email: evette.Spencer@labor.ny.gov
- Niagara County Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program Specialist, Ian Bone: 1 (716) 278-8258 • email: ian.Bone@labor.ny.gov
- Erie County Local Veterans’ Employment Representative, Walter Wallace: 1 (716) 851-2638 • email: Walter.Wallace@labor.ny.gov
- Orleans/Niagara County Local Veterans’ Employment Representative, Stephen Bragg: 1 (585) 589-5335 • email: Stephen.Bragg@labor.ny.gov
- Buffalo Career Center: https://dol.ny.gov/location/buffalo-career-center
- Niagara Worksource One: http://www.worksource1.com/job-seeker/veterans
GI Bill Programs: 1 (888) 442-4551 • https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/
- Educational programs and scholarships, ranging from the reserve educational assistance program to the veterans retraining program, can be found on this vast list of federally supported educational resources for eligible veterans.
Post-9/11 GI Bill: https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/post-9-11/
- The Post-9/11 GI Bill is an education benefit program for individuals who served on active duty after September 10, 2001. A specific component, the Yellow Ribbon Program, is available for degree-granting institutions in the U.S. or at an eligible branch for those residing outside the U.S. The program enables approved institutions of higher learning and the VA to partially or fully fund tuition & fees that exceed the already established thresholds of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
- NYS Bureau of Veterans Education: https://veterans.ny.gov/content/bureau-veterans-education
NYS “Experience Counts” Campaign: https://veterans.ny.gov/content/experience-counts
- A series of NYS reforms to state licensing and higher education that will ensure military experience is appropriately credited when service members return to civilian life.
NYS Veteran Tuition Awards: https://veterans.ny.gov/content/veterans-tuition-awards
- These awards may be granted to full-time and part-time eligible veterans who are matriculated at an undergraduate or graduate institution or in an applicable vocational program in New York State.
NYS Operation Recognition | High School Diplomas for Veterans: 1 (518) 474-8940 • https://veterans.ny.gov/content/operation-recognition-0
- Veterans who left high school without graduating are eligible to earn New York State high school diplomas. Operation Recognition, created by Section 305 of New York’s Education Law, recognizes the devotion and sacrifice of all Veterans who left school early by presenting them with a high school diploma.
NYS Children of Veterans (Regents) Awards: https://veterans.ny.gov/content/regents-awards-children-deceased-disabled-veterans
- Provides eligible children of deceased veterans, those missing in action or prisoners of war, or those service-connected disabled veterans with a disability rate of 40 percent or greater an annual, noncompetitive monetary award up to $450 per year. The parent must be a New York State resident or must have been a New York State resident at time of death.
NYS Military Service (MERIT) Recognition Scholarships: https://www.hesc.ny.gov/pay-for-college/financial-aid/types-of-financial-aid/nys-grants-scholarships-awards/msrs-scholarship.html
- Available to certain dependents of members of the armed forces or state organized militia who, any time after Aug. 2, 1990, while in service performing their military duties including training, died, was severely and permanently disabled or was declared missing in action. The service member would be required to have been a New York State resident at the time of the event.
Federal Benefits: https://www.military.com/veteran-jobs/5-benefits-serving-civil-service-after-your-military-career.html
- On competitive exams only, there is a 10-point preference for eligible disabled veterans and a 5-point preference for wartime honorably discharged veterans. Some requirements may be waived and special priority given in particular job categories. Unremarried surviving spouses, certain spouses and mothers of disabled veterans may also be eligible for preference.
NYS Benefits: 1 (518) 233-3118 or 1 (866) 297-4356 • https://www.cs.ny.gov/rp55/
- NYS civil service examination fees are waived for honorably discharged veterans. Credit preferences and retention rights are available for disabled and non-disabled veterans for competitive positions. Some competitive positions are filled by appointment for qualified wartime veterans with disabilities.
- US Department of Veteran's Affairs: 1 (800) 827-1000 • https://www.va.gov
- NYS Division of Veteran's Services: 1 (888) 838-7697 • https://veterans.ny.gov
- NYS Division of Military & Naval Affairs: http://dmna.ny.gov
- NYS Division of Veterans’ Services | Williamsville: 1 (716) 632-4190 • WNY Heroes, 8205 Main Street Suite 1, Williamsville, NY 14221-5499
- New York State Division of Veterans’ Services - c/o Buffalo VAMC: 1 (716) 862-8902 • VA Medical Center, 3495 Bailey Avenue Room 602C, Buffalo, NY 14215
- Erie County Veterans Service Agency: 1 (716) 858-6363 • https://www3.erie.gov/veterans/ • 95 Franklin Street, Suite 800, Buffalo, New York 14202
- Niagara County Veterans Service Agency: 1 (716) 438-4090 • https://www.niagaracounty.com/Departments/Veterans-Service-Agency • 175 Hawley St., Suite 100D, Lockport, NY 14094 • email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Blindness & Disability Benefits
Federal Blindness Benefits: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/homepage
- Blindness need not be service-connected. Guide dogs and electronic and mechanical aids may be available.
NYS State Blind Annuity Program: https://veterans.ny.gov/content/new-york-state-blind-annuity-program
- An annuity is available to blind wartime veterans and qualified un-remarried, surviving spouses plus a percentage increase, if any, for compensation and pension benefits administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in the previous year. The NYS Division of Veterans’ Services publishes by Feb. 1 of each year the amount of the annuity, as adjusted.
- Veterans may apply for compensation for a service-connected disability at any time. The disability rating is based on the severity of the condition and the reduction in earning power.
Non-service Connected Disability Pension: https://benefits.va.gov/pension/
- A monthly pension, based on a financial means test, may be available for eligible wartime veterans with disabilities who are no longer able to work. Veterans must be permanently and totally disabled or have reached the age of 65.
Hearing Aids: https://prosthetics.va.gov/psas/hearing_aids.asp
- Veterans must first register for this federal benefit at a local VA Medical Center. If eligible, a hearing aid, repairs and future batteries would be provided at no charge.
Clothing Allowance: https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/special-claims/clothing-allowance/
- Clothing allowance is federal money to help you replace clothes damaged by a medicine or prosthetic or orthopedic device related to your service-connected disability.
NYS Vehicle Registration & Plate Fee Exemptions: https://veterans.ny.gov/content/new-york-state-motor-vehicle-registration-fee-exemption
- Veterans can qualify to be exempt from vehicle registration fees and vehicle plate fees if they are a qualified disabled Veteran under Federal Title 38, Part III, Chapter 39.
Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Transportation for Veterans: https://www.va.gov/western-new-york-health-care/dav-vans-transportation-for-veterans/
- Note: DAV vans can only provide rides to ambulatory passengers (passengers who are able to move around without the driver’s help). For information on accessible transportation options, review our other Veteran shuttle services.
Veterans Transportation Program (VTP): 1 (716) 834-9200 or 1 (800) 532-8387 • https://www.vetride.va.gov/app/home
- The VA’s VTP offers travel solutions to veterans to and from VA health care facilities at little or no cost to eligible veterans.
VA Beneficiary Travel (BT) Program: https://www.va.gov/health-care/get-reimbursed-for-travel-pay/
- VA travel pay reimbursement through the Beneficiary Travel program pays eligible Veterans back for mileage and other travel expenses to and from approved health care appointments.
- National Call Center for Homeless Veterans: 1 (877) 424-3838
- National Coalition for Homeless Veterans: http://nchv.org/ • email: email@example.com
Federal VA Aid & Attendance benefits and Housebound Allowance: https://www.va.gov/pension/aid-attendance-housebound/
- At the state and federal levels, our government recognizes the steep costs affiliated with long-term, at-home or nursing home care. In an effort to ease financial burdens, there is a benefit to assist eligible wartime veterans and their families with costly day-to-day living expenses. In the event of sudden disability, veterans and their family members should consider this valuable benefit.
Federal Home Loan Guarantee: https://benefits.va.gov/homeloans/
- Certain veterans and spouses may be eligible for loans from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to buy homes. The guarantee often reduces or eliminates the need for a down payment.
Federal Home Accessibility Grants (Two Programs): Federal Home Accessibility Grants (Two Programs): https://www.va.gov/housing-assistance/disability-housing-grants/ and https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/4733
- Veterans who are totally and permanently disabled may be eligible for grants to adapt their home to meet their wheelchair needs.
NY State & Regional
New York State has a right-to-shelter obligation as the result of a court interpretation of the New York State Constitution. The counties are charged with fulfilling that state obligation. As a consequence, many shelters primarily take Departments of Social Service referrals. If you are a person experiencing homelessness, we advise you first visit the homeless teams of your respective Departments of Social Service.
Homeless people are considered residents of the counties they are currently in.
Erie County Department of Social Services, Homeless Team: 1 (716) 858-6265 • After 5 PM, Call 2-1-1 or 1 (888) 696-9211 for assistance • https://www3.erie.gov/temporaryassistance/homelessness • 158 Pearl Street, 1st floor, Buffalo, NY 14202 • email: TAEmergencyServices@erie.gov
- If you have nowhere safe to stay, the Homeless Team, located at 158 Pearl Street, 1st floor, may be able to place you in a shelter, hotel, or motel during normal business hours. After 5:00 pm, you may call 211WNY, at 1-888-696-9211. They can help you find safe shelter for the night, and then have you follow up with the Homeless Team the following business day.
Niagara County Department of Social Services, Housing and Homeless Services: http://niagaracounty.com/socialservices/Programs/Housing-and-Homeless-Services • 301 10th Street, Niagara Falls, NY 14303 and 20 East Avenue, Lockport, NY 14094
- The housing offices of the Niagara County DSS may be able to work with homeless or potentially homeless families, singles and childless couples in the county. The process begins with an assessment to determine the circumstances causing the need for housing assistance.
WNY Veterans Housing Coalition, Inc. (WNYVHC): http://wnyvhc.org
- WNYVHC provides housing, case management, employment, and referrals to Veterans who might otherwise face homelessness or prolonged hospital stays because they are unable to find suitable, affordable and accessible housing.
NYS Homes for Veterans Program: https://veterans.ny.gov/content/about-new-york-state-division-veterans%E2%80%99-affairs
- The Homes for Veterans Program offers qualifying veterans low fixed-rate mortgages through the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA). Veterans must have served in the active military and have discharged under any other conditions other than dishonorable. Active duty service members, honorably discharged National Guardsmen or Reservists who are first time homebuyers can take advantage of the program benefits if they fit the qualifications.
NYS Nursing Home Care: https://veterans.ny.gov/content/new-york-state-veterans’-nursing-homes
- New York State has five veterans’ homes in operation for eligible veterans and their dependents. Four are operated by the NYS Department of Health: A 242-bed home in Oxford, Chenango County; a 250-bed facility in St. Albans, Queens; a 126-bed home in Batavia, Genesee County; and a 252-bed facility in Montrose, Westchester County. The fifth veterans’ facility – the Long Island State Veterans Home – is a 350-bed facility on the campus of the State University at Stony Brook. It’s the first in the country to be integrated into the teaching, research, health care and regional development mission of a major university. Health-related care and nursing services are available at all facilities. Admission preference is based on severity of illness or disability.
To find out if you or a loved one is eligible for any of these important services or to schedule an appointment with a Veterans Benefits Advisor, please call the New York State Division of Veterans' Affairs Help Line: 1 (888) 838-7697 (VETSNYS).
Property Tax Exemptions: 1 (888) 838-7697 • https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/exemption/vetexempt.htm
- Veterans should contact their local assessor’s office for information and an application.
NYS Income Tax Exemptions: https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/file/military_page.htm
- Military pay received for active service as a member of the United States Armed Services in an area designated as a combat zone is exempt from New York State, New York City and Yonkers income taxes.
- American Ex-Prisoners of War: http://www.axpow.org
- American Veterans Center: 1 (703) 302-1012 • https://www.americanveteranscenter.org
- American Women Veterans: https://americanwomenveterans.org
- AMVETS National: 1 (877) 726-8387
- Blinded Veterans Association: 1 (800) 669-7079
- Catholic War Veterans & Auxiliary of the United States: 1 (703) 549-3622 • https://cwv.org
- Center for Women Veterans (CWV): https://www.va.gov/WOMENVET/
- County Veterans Service Officers Association of the State of New York, Inc.: https://www.nacvso.org
- Disabled Veterans National Foundation: 1 (202) 737-0522
- Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America: 1 (212) 982-9699
- Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A.: 1 (202) 265-6280 • https://www.jwv.org
- Military Order of the Purple Heart: 1 (800) 668-1656
- National Association for Black Veterans, Inc.: 1 (877) NABVETS • https://www.nabvets.org
- National Coalition for Homeless Veterans: 1 (800) VET-HELP
- National League of POW/MIA Families: https://www.pow-miafamilies.org
- Paralyzed Veterans of America: 1 (800) 424-8200
- Student Veterans of America: 1 (202) 223-4710 • https://studentveterans.org
- Women Marines Association: 1 (888)-525-1943 • https://www.womenmarines.org
- Women's Army Corps Veterans’ Association | Army Women United (WACVA-AWU): 1 (256) 820-6824 • https://www.armywomen.org
- Wounded Warrior Project: 1 (212) 629-8881
- Vietnam Veterans of America, New York State Council: https://nyvietnamvets.org
- The American Legion, Department of New York: 1 (518) 463-2215 • https://nylegion.net • 112 State St., Suite #1300, Albany, NY 12207 • email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Department of Veterans Affairs: 1 (800) 827-1000 • https://benefits.va.gov/buffalo/ • 130 South Elmwood Ave., Suite #601, Buffalo, NY 14202
- AMVETS: 1 (716) 857-3115 • 130 South Elmwood Ave., Suite #623, Buffalo, NY 14202
- Disabled American Veterans: 1 (716) 857-3354 • 130 South Elmwood Ave., Suite #620, Buffalo, NY 14202
- Korean War Veterans Association (WNY): 1 (716) 876-5528 • 155 Harrison Ave., Buffalo, NY 14223
- Military Order of the Purple Heart: 1 (716) 857-3346 • 130 South Elmwood Ave., Suite #624, Buffalo, NY 14202
- Paralyzed Veterans of America: 1 (716) 857-3352 • 130 South Elmwood Ave., Suite #621, Buffalo, NY 14202
- The American Legion Office: 1 (716) 857-3361 • 130 South Elmwood Ave., Suite #613, Buffalo, NY 14202
- Vietnam Veterans of America: 1 (716) 857-3344 • 130 South Elmwood Ave., Suite #629, Buffalo, NY 14202
- Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW): 1 (716) 857-3348 • 130 South Elmwood Ave., Suite #626, Buffalo, NY 14202
- American Legion A. J. Jurek Post 1672: 1 (716) 688-9011 • 655 New Rd., Swormville, NY 14051
- Amherst Township VFW Post 416: 1 (716) 633-9019 • 18 E. Spring St., Buffalo, NY 14221
- George F. Lamm Post 622: 1 (716) 204-2516 • https://americanlegionpost622.com • 962 Wehrle Dr., Williamsville, NY 14221 • email: email@example.com
- Vietnam Veterans of America #77: 1 (716) 693-4479 • https://vva.org • 57 Main St., Tonawanda, NY 14150
Federal Burial Benefits: 1 (800) 827-1000 • https://www.va.gov/burials-memorials/
- Financial assistance for burial and plot expenses is available for certain eligible veterans. Claims must be filed within two years after permanent interment. Burial in national cemeteries is available to veterans and certain family members. An American flag to drape the casket and be given to the next of kin is available.
NYS Burial Benefits: 1 (888) 838-7697 • https://veterans.ny.gov/content/indigent-burial-reimbursements
- Burial expenses and the cost of headstones for indigent state veterans and certain family members are authorized by the county of the veteran’s residence.
NYS Supplemental Burial Allowance: 1 (888) 838-7697 • https://veterans.ny.gov/content/new-york-state-supplemental-burial-allowance
- A supplemental burial allowance of up to $6,000 is authorized for certain military personnel killed in combat or while on active duty in hostile or imminent danger zones on or after Sept. 29, 2003.
Veteran Recovery Program (VRP): https://pgrny.org/index.php/programs/veteran-recovery
- The mission of the VRP is to locate, identify and inter any unclaimed remains of veterans to provide a final resting place to pay respect to lost and forgotten heroes.
Federal Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): https://www.va.gov/survivors/
- DIC payments may be available to eligible spouses and certain dependents of veterans who died of service-related injuries or disease. Monthly awards are based on the veteran’s military rank. Certain remarried surviving spouses may also be eligible.
Federal Surviving Spouse Pension: https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/285
- Certain surviving spouses and single children of deceased wartime veterans may be eligible for a non-service related pension based on need. Minor children may be eligible even if the surviving spouse remarries.
Insurance Death Benefits: https://benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/resources_handbook_ins_chapter8.asp
- Designated beneficiaries of deceased persons covered by all forms of government insurance may submit their claims to the nearest counseling center of the state’s Division of Veterans’ Services. Visit https://www.va.gov/life-insurance/options-eligibility/sgli/ to convert a Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) policy after discharge.
- Veterans One-stop Center of WNY, Inc.: 1 (716) 898-0110 • 1280 Main St., Suite #204, Buffalo, NY 14209
National Resource Directory: https://nrd.gov
- National Resource Directory connects wounded, ill & injured Service members, Veterans, their families, and caregivers with those who support them.
- Patriot Guard Riders of New York: https://pgrny.org
Help On The Homefront Program (HOTH): https://pgrny.org/index.php/programs/help-on-the-homefront
- HOTH is a volunteer outreach program which provides support to veterans, the families of deployed service members and Gold Star families.
- Wounded Warrior Resource Center (MOS): 1 (800) 342-9647
Operation Home Front: 1 (210) 659-7756
- Provided programs: RELIEF (through Critical Financial Assistance and transitional housing programs), RESILIENCY (through permanent housing and caregiver support services) and RECURRING FAMILY SUPPORT programs and services throughout the year that help military families overcome the short-term bumps in the road so they don’t become long-term chronic problems.
- NYS Medal or Ribbon Replacement: http://dmna.ny.gov/awards/
- NYS Veterans Driver’s License Special Designation: https://dmv.ny.gov/more-info/veteran-status-designation-photo-document
NYS Veterans Vehicle Registration & Plate Fee Exemptions: https://veterans.ny.gov/content/new-york-state-motor-vehicle-registration-fee-exemption
- Veterans can qualify to be exempt from vehicle registration fees and vehicle plate fees if: They are a qualified disabled Veteran under Federal Title 38, Part III, Chapter 39, or they qualify for and apply for Congressional Medal of Honor custom plates, or they qualify for and apply for Former Prisoner of War custom plates.
- "Thank-A-Vet" Discount Program Niagara County: https://www.niagaracounty.com/County-Information/Thank-a-Vet-Program
- "Thank-A-Vet" Discount Program Erie County: https://www2.erie.gov/clerk/thankavet
Veterans FreshConnect checks: 1 (888) 838-7697 • https://veterans.ny.gov/content/freshconnect-checks-veterans-and-families
- NYS offers FreshConnect checks to Active Duty members, veterans and their immediate family members, as well as un-remarried surviving spouses of veterans. Each recipient receives a booklet of FreshConnect checks worth a total of $20 at participating farmers’ markets and farm stands. Only one booklet of checks per household per calendar year. Veterans Benefits Advisors distribute FreshConnect checks on a first-come, first-served basis throughout NYS.
- Stars & Stripes: https://www.stripes.com