York County vets office got $4.7M in 2015


The York County agency that looks out for armed services veterans secured a combined $4.7 million in federal and state benefits for them during fiscal year 2014-15, a veterans official said.

That's an increase of roughly $100,000 from the previous fiscal year, said Phil Palandro, director of the York County Department of Veterans Affairs.

Palandro gave his year-end report to commissioners during their weekly meeting on Wednesday.

Over the course of six years, the local veterans office secured about $25.9 million in benefits for the roughly 40,000 veterans who live in the county, he said.

The county's veterans affairs department isn't affiliated with federal and state veterans affairs agencies but serves as an advocate for veterans at the state and federal level.

Commissioner Doug Hoke called it an honor to support veterans.

"It's the least we can do given the sacrifices and risks they've taken on our behalf," he said in a news release.

Additional support: Throughout the most recent fiscal year, 851 new claims for benefits were filed locally, Palandro said, adding the number of claims doesn't include those that roll over from previous years.

The agency also secured funeral benefits for 1,692 families of veterans.

Additionally, the agency gave out $16,493 to veterans in need. That money is used as a stopgap until their federal benefits kick in, he said.

Palandro credited local veteran clubs, such as VFW and American Legion posts, with providing support to help veterans. He also thanked commissioners for their support.

"Lots of people need help. We can't do that without the support from the board," Palandro said.

Benefits: Here's a look at year-over-year benefits through the York County Department of Veterans Affairs:

•2009-10: $2.4 million

•2010-11: $4 million

•2011-12: $5.1 million

•2012-13: $5.3 million

•2013-14: $4.6 million

•2014-15: $4.7 million

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.