Events help veterans navigate benefits

Veterans can get help at two upcoming informational sessions at the Whidbey Veterans Resource Center

Veterans who may have difficulty in navigating the process to apply for benefits can get some help at two upcoming informational sessions at the Whidbey Veterans Resource Center.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 10 and 24, the nonprofit organization is hosting an event covering the topics of veteran benefits and VA health care.

According to census data, Island County has the highest number of veterans per capita in the state, with an estimated 18 to 20% of the population in the county having served.

“Which is pretty significant,” said Dana Sawyers, executive director of the organization.

The Whidbey Veterans Resource Center often coordinates with other organizations, such as the Opportunity Council and Island County, to assist veterans.

“We just all work together. The big piece is getting that benefits information out to people,” Sawyers said. “We meet people every week that say, ‘I had no idea.’”

For example, not all veterans are aware of the PACT Act, a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic substances. The new act opened up eligibility for a large number of people who served.

Follow-up appointments are available for people who need additional help. For those who can’t make the upcoming informational sessions, private appointments can be made.

The Whidbey Veterans Resource Center is located at the South Whidbey Community Center in Langley, which is at 723 Camano Ave., building C, room 403.

Besides benefits and health care information, the organization provides rides to the VA Medical Center, weekly support groups and referrals for professional counseling. For more information, visit