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Ask County Veteran Service Officers about more than Claims

Sasha Mathews.Hays VCSO.2021.cropped

“When speaking to your County Veteran Service Officer feel free to address questions that you might have which may be outside of the scope of VA disabilities. Chances are they will know how to begin a specific process or have great resources that will help you through any issues you may be encountering,” said Sasha Mathews, Marine Corps veteran and Hays County Senior Assistant Veteran Service Officer, pictured. “We are here to address the ‘whole’ veteran and their families.”

She means it. In addition to assisting veterans with their VA Claims, “Our office is the home of our most recent financial assistance program Hope4Hays, which is supported by a grant from TVC (Texas Veterans Commission),” said Mathews. Additionally, the Hays County Veteran Services Office (VSO) has partnered with Good Samaritan to offer free mental health services and partnered with the local Food bank and VFW for a monthly food distribution program. Further, the Hays VSO includes support of and involvement with justice involved veterans through the Hays County Veterans Treatment Court. Pictured below are, from left, Hay County Veteran Service Officer and Army veteran Michael Hernandez assisting with food distribution, Mathews (giving thumbs up) preparing food for distribution and Hay County Veteran Service Officer and Army veteran Jude Prather helping at a school supply drive.


Mathews recalled a case in helping the “whole” veteran. “One of my most memorable cases involved a transient, homeless veteran who found himself in our office. Unsure of how to get back on his feet, he had previously, in years past, attempted to file for mental health, specifically PTSD. However, he wasn’t successful. With his mental health deteriorating, he had lost his home, family, and business. First, we were able to address his need for the basic necessities (food and housing), then we got him connected and began treatment for mental health. During this process, I was able to do extensive casework and found the issue with his previously denied claim. Once addressed, the claim was finally granted at 70% with IU (Individual Unemployability) and backdated 10 plus years. Fast forward, the veteran is now in his own apartment, financially stable, and on his way to a better quality of life.”

Mathews credits successes like this and the community partnerships developed to the team she is part of including Hay County Veteran Service Officers Jude Prather and Michael Hernandez.

In addition to being a member of the Hays County VSO team, Mathews serves on the Dripping Springs Patriots’ Hall Advisory Board. Patriots Hall serves as a retreat and resource base for Veterans of all ages and military branches to connect and find support. Further, as a member of the TVC Veterans County Service Officer Advisory Committee, she works in a statewide capacity to develop recommendations to improve the support and training of Veterans County Service Officers (VCSOs) and to increase coordination between VCSOs statewide and TVC in serving veterans.

The Hays County VSO regularly assists veterans in getting their VA benefits including Claims, appeals, education, dependent and surviving spouse benefits, and health care.  Additionally, they connect veterans and their families to community events and resources. Located in San Marcos, the Hays VSO team may be contacted by email veteranservices@co.hays.tx.us or phone 512-392-8387.

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