Seventeen veterans’ service offices will close around the state, meaning ex-soldiers in some counties will have to travel to receive benefits or other assistance.
The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs says it closed the offices because of severe funding cuts to agencies funded by the state General Fund budget.
Spokesman Robert Horton said Tuesday that no employees will lose jobs because manpower will be consolidated in the other offices.
The purpose of the offices is to help eligible veterans apply for and receive claims, Horton said. He said if the outlook of the General Fund improves, some offices may reopen.
Horton said the workload facing the veterans’ offices is increasing because of so many soldiers retuning from Iraq and Afghanistan and the aging population of those who served in Vietnam, Korea and World War II.
The offices will be closed effective June 1.
Republican state Rep. Duwayne Bridges of Valley is a Marine veteran. One of the offices scheduled to close is in Lanett in Chambers County in his district.
“I hope as the economy turns around we’ll be able to reopen that office,” Bridges said.
He said he hopes that buses will be offered to provide transportation for veterans who normally would seek assistance at the Lanett office. He said the Lanett office is currently only open one day a week.
Veterans offices that are closing include: Baldwin County office in Bay Minette; Chambers County office in Lanett; Cherokee County office in Centre; Chilton County office in Clanton; Clay County office in Ashland; Colbert County office in Tuscumbia; Crenshaw County office in Luverne; Hale County office in Greensboro; Henry County office in Abbeville; Lawrence County office Moulton; Perry County office in Marion; Sumter County office in Livingston; Tallapoosa County office in Dadevillle; Talladega County office in Sylacauga; Washington County office in Chatom; Wilcox County office in Camden; Winston County office in Double Springs.