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Florida Veterans Affairs Head: Don't Just Thank A Vet, Ask Them About Their Benefits

Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs

While the public is normally urged to “thank a Veteran” they meet, the head of Florida’s Department of Veterans' Affairs also wants people to ask a state vet about their earned federal and state health benefits.

Florida’s Department of Veterans' Affairs Executive Director Glenn Sutphin says he’d like other officials as well as the public to ask one simple question:

“Please talk to any veteran you see and ask, ‘have you got your benefits?’” I think 740,000 are being looked at by the VA in Florida of the almost 1.6 million veterans, and they're coming to us daily,” he stated.

” he stated, during Monday's Veterans Hall of Fame Council meeting.

Calling himself a “terrible example,” Sutphin says it took him 10 years before he applied for his benefits. But, he says he only did it after someone else spoke to him.

“My Sergeant said to me, ‘you don’t love your wife?’  And, I said, ‘Of course, I love my wife. It’s been 41 years.’ He said, ‘then, why don’t you go get your benefits, so when something happens to you, your wife or your spouse will be able to get those benefits.’ And, that’s how I’d like ya’ll to sell it,” he added. “If you don’t think you need it or want it, how about that wife or that spouse, who was your support battalion commander, while you could do all those wonderful, fun things that we got to do?”

While Sutphin says at least 35 percent of Florida veterans do not put in for their benefits, he believes that number is really closer to 45 percent.

While they predominantly cover health, benefits can also include state property tax exemptions, education vouchers, and pensions. For more information, visit FloridaVets.org.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.