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Veterans Enrollment Fair to be held in Morris

MORRIS - Minnesota has nearly 400,000 veterans, yet only about half use their VA health care benefits. Are you a veteran or spouse of a veteran still wondering what benefits you or your loved one may be eligible to receive?

To assist veterans, their spouses and families in learning about and applying for VA health benefits, a team of representatives from the St. Cloud VA Health Care System and the Stevens County Veteran Service Office are conducting a Veteran Enrollment Fair in Morris.

The Enrollment Fair is scheduled for Oct. 23, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Old No. 1 Bar & Grill, located at 412 Atlantic Avenue, in Morris.

Veteran Enrollment Fairs are walk-in events, and an appointment is not necessary.

"These events are designed to provide direct assistance to veterans in applying for VA health benefits by bringing expert counselors directly to the communities they live in," said Barb Oemcke, business manager for the St. Cloud VA Health Care System. "In many cases, veterans who applied for benefits earlier in life and were deemed not eligible may now be eligible due to changes in benefits programs or changing personal situations."

"If a veteran or spouse ever had a question this is the time to ask it," she added.  

While eligibility rules vary based on individual circumstances, Oemcke said that for health care benefits the basic requirement is that a person must have served in the active military. Reservists and National Guard members may also qualify for health care benefits if they were ordered to active duty, she added.

For most veterans applying for health benefits, entry into the VA health care system begins with a simple written application and a copy of the veteran's DD 214. Applications for health care benefits and additional information will be available at the event, or you may call the St. Cloud VA Health Care System eligibility office at 320-255-6340 or visit

Applications and information on all VA benefits are available locally from the Stevens County Veteran Service Officer, Hugh Reimers, at (320) 208-6555.

The St. Cloud VA Health Care System delivers health care to more than 38,000 Veterans per year at the medical center in St. Cloud and community based outpatient clinics in Brainerd, Alexandria ­and Montevideo.