The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday heard from Acting V.I. Veterans Affairs Director Harry Daniel, who presented his department’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget of $324,000, all of which is from the territory’s General Fund. This appropriation funds wages and salaries of $233,000 and employer Social Security, Medicare, insurance and pension contributions of $91,000 for the office’s three current employees.
Veterans Affairs will also receive $400,000 from the territory’s miscellaneous budget category, which goes to pay for veterans’ burials and health-related travel.
This past year the office also received $150,000 from the V.I. Lottery and $8,500 from the V.I. Taxi Cab Commission. It expects to receive the same or more from these funds in FY14.
"These funds are used for all our operating costs, which include supplies, rent, phones and all programs on educating the veterans on their benefits," Daniel said.
The St. Croix office is leaking and needs repairs to be ADA compliant, he added.
The Office of Veterans Affairs compiles data concerning veterans; informs veterans of available benefits regarding employment, health, education, homeownership and burial; and assists them in processing and filing claims. It also coordinates with local and federal agencies regarding matters of interest to veterans and recommends legislation to the governor affecting veterans and their families, Daniel said.
No votes were taken at the information gathering hearing.